Bishop of Ontario offers new coadjutor sage advice
A bishop must ask difficult questions, push the edges, explore new ways of thinking, being and doing ... without losing the sense of centre, which is Christ. That is the advice of the Rt. Rev. Peter Mason, Bishop of Ontario, who preached at the June 24 Consecration of Coadjutor Bishop William Hockin.
It took Bishop Mason some time to get to the brotherly advice portion of his sermon. A good bit of the beginning of it was a light-hearted look at bishops in general ... Generally speaking, bishops are generally speaking and William Hockin in particular ... Who will look after my dog Simeon when we are all in Lambeth?
But in the end he eloquently enunciated what he considered to be the four points of the episcopacy.
A priest who was very angry with his bishop shot him through the chest, but the bishop stood unscathed, because he had no heart. The priest aimed a little higher and shot the bishop through the head. Again, the bishop remained standing, because he had no brain. Finally the angry priest aimed higher still and shot the bishop through his mitre, which destroyed him completely.
Bishops must make decisions prayerfully, bravely, and collegially with their brother and sister priests ... As a bishop, your capacity to help the church where it needs healing and fixing depends on your capacity to create and sustain good will. This is in short supply in the world today ... And once good will is spent, no amount of episcopal power or scheming or holding back of apportionment will bring it back.
Bishop Mason ended his sermon with this blessing:
Bill and Isabelle, May God empower and uphold you to be gospel people and leaders in the church. You are not alone, you will be used and blessed in the days and years ahead. We will be the beneficiaries. God's people and God's church, by God's grace, will prosper.