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Looking Into 2020

Jan 1, 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we enter a new year I want to outline afresh my responsibilities and ministry within the Diocese as Canon Chaplain/Pastor.

Overall I continue to assist the Bishop with the pastoral care of ACTIVE clergy and their families. While I have capitalized ACTIVE (which means that I do not have primary responsibility for retired clergy) I do include those retired clergy who are currently active in parish ministry.
The Rev Dr Dwight Ogier is the designated Chaplain for retired clergy. He is assisted in this by a team of clergy who reside in different parts of the Diocese. These are: The Rev. Sandra McCann (South)The Rev.

Spenser Simrill (Atlanta & SW) The Rev. Joe Herring (North Atlanta),The Rev. Robt Dentler (East). Dwight resides in North Ga. and covers that area. All of these people are on call to provide pastoral care for retired clergy where a local parish is unable to do so. Local parish clergy have primary responsibility for retired clergy residing in their area.

My work is specifically directed to individual members of the clergy (Deacons and Priests)
who either request my ministry or who are referred to me by the Bishop. I pay particular attention to new clergy or newly ordained clergy and those who work in isolated situations – geographically or otherwise.

I try to attend clergy who are hospitalized or who have suffered bereavement, when I am made aware of those circumstances.
The Bishop has asked me to be available to clergy who are in transition or who are contemplating change or transition in their ministries. In these instances I rely often on direct requests or referrals.

Since I have been in the Diocese since 1983 I have developed a fairly good ‘ear to the ground’ capability and I do rely on my instincts a good deal. I do not want to be intrusive but I will sometimes contact people whom I haven’t seen in a while or who have indicated to colleagues a need for support.
In all of my encounters and contacts with clergy I maintain absolute confidentiality. This is agreed between me and the Bishop as well as the Diocesan Staff. I am not expected or required to ‘report back.’ And I don’t. I am willing to act as a liaison with the Bishop or other Diocesan Staff if asked to do so by the person with whom I meet – never otherwise.

Over the past several years my ministry has extended to those in the process of discernment for ordination. I attend the ‘Here I am’ Day each year and the Discernment Retreat in the Fall. In this connection I maintain contact with those people and do follow-up on the process with them. The Commission on Ministry have invited me to attend and have input to their sessions.

This monthly letter is my principal way of maintaining contact with my colleagues – aside from Clergy Conferences and Study Days. I invite you to respond to me and will this year be inviting members of the clergy to ‘occupy this space’ to provide an opportunity for shared concerns around our work and ministry.

Finally, a word about SUPPLY. I am not a member of the Diocesan Supply Clergy group and deliberately don’t want to be. However, where there is a pastoral need for someone to be absent from their parish other than regular leave, I am very willing and ready to be available for liturgical and homiletic cover. I am also ready to work with anyone who needs extra time away as part of their ‘self-care’ and spiritual renewal. Please contact me to discuss this if you are considering it. I may in some cases suggest that to you !

I would enjoy invitations to come and preach and/or share the liturgy with you.

My best wishes and prayers for you in the coming year,

From The Rev. Canon John Bolton

Canon Chaplain for Clergy
(404) 402-7599