Even though I know what the job of a Bishop is, I never really realized how much influence that a Bishop can have over ones life in the ways that one thinks. But this is something that I have just recently realized happens. Now I know that it all isn’t because of the Bishop, but this Bishop came to mind when I noticed something in the congregation that I have been attending lately.
When I first met Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Diocese of California, there was just something about him that I knew would make a difference in the lives of the congregations in the diocese. Now I was rooting for someone else to win the Election for Bishop, but I knew that he was going to win the election.
One of the things that Bishop Marc talked about when he came in, and even to this day and into the future is about the ecology of this world, and how important it is that we take care of this planet that God has given for us to care for. He has been insistent on the congregations using products and materials that are recyclable and renewable, and has now only talked about it, but has implemented this into the office of the diocese.
To be truthful, I was very skeptical about this happening, and mostly the congregations doing it, but as time went on, sure enough I noticed more and more congregations switching. Over time even I was doing this at home. Instead of buying Styrofoam cops and plates, I would buy the paper ones and/or the ones that were marked that they could be recycled in some way.
What was really nice is that the youth of one of the congregations had a proposal brought forth before the Diocesan Convention wanting every congregation to replace at least one of the lightbulbs tot he newer style that saves energy. Even though I heard people complain about the proposal, it past with ease. Now this wasn’t a problem in the congregation that I was in, as we had pretty much replaced all of the ones that we could with the new style anyway, but I noticed when I went into other congregations that they had replaced more than just the one, but all that they could.
I recently moved to another diocese, and have gone to a couple of congregations. It was while I was at the one that I currently attend that I realized the effect that Bishop Marc has had on me. I’m living in a diocese that is hot and dry, and I went to get a cup of water out of the water-cooler. I reached to pull down a cup and felt the styrofoam. The thought that this wasn’t right came across my mind, but when I looked, sure enough I had a styrofoam cup in my hand. It had been a few years since the last time that I drank out of one of these. I put some water in it and began to drink. As I was drinking the water, it was then that I realized that I was really uncomfortable with what I was doing, and that it was because of Bishop Marc.
As I thought about what had happened, I then began to think about the choices and ways that Bishops can and do influence each and every one of us. I’m not talking just about Episcopal Bishops, but Bishops of all denominations. Bishops influence the ways that we think and act. Sure some get us thinking and acting in ways that in my opinion is not in how the Holy Trinity would want for us to be and how we act, but I think that for the most part all clergy try to get us to walk in the way of the Holy Trinity.
I want to thank Bishop Marc for having a positive influence on me when it comes to the ecology of this world. If I should choose to remain in the congregation that I am in (which is likely,) I am going to do my best to try and get them to do things that will not hurt this planet and to make other choices (they do some things that are good, but they could be better,) and it will come because of the influence of Bishop Marc. I hope and pray that more and more congregations throughout God’s Church really think and change so they they are helping to save this planet that the God has left for us to care for.