Bishop Stokes offers a video introduction to “My Way of Love”
Dear People and Friends of the Diocese of the New Jersey,
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
The passage cited above comes from the fourth chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. It’s one of my favorites and it is often read at ordination services. One of the things I find most compelling about this passage is its clear recognition that those called to various ministries in the Church have one primary responsibility: to build up the body of Christ. Paul also acknowledges that all followers of Jesus Christ, that is, all disciples, are to come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
I wonder, how are you doing with this? How deep is your knowledge of the Son of God? How mature are you in your faith? How close are you to the measure of the full stature of Christ? I wonder how we as a diocesan community are doing at these things. These are questions about Christian formation, spiritual growth, and maturity in Christ.
I am excited to announce an important new initiative in the Diocese of New Jersey designed to help each person in the Diocese of New Jersey 16 years old and older to have a better sense of where you stand in your own Christian journey, and will also help us as a diocesan community to understand where we stand as a whole.
Beginning October 9 and continuing until October 30, under the leadership of the Rev. Emily Mellott and the Discerning Our Common Call Committee and Anne Delgado and the Lifelong Christian Formation Committee, the Diocese of New Jersey is launching an important project called My Way of Love. This project is in partnership with Forward Movement’s RenewalWorks, which is a tool designed to help congregations focus on spiritual growth.
My Way of Love is designed to be “a personal guide for the spiritual journey,” which offers tools “to help individuals grow along the seven practices for Jesus-centered life: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest.” The brief online survey that begins this process for you is a “Spiritual Life Inventory” that allows you to assess where you are in your spiritual life.
Once you respond, you’ll receive helpful explanations of the findings from the folks at RenewalWorks, along with some tips for improving your spiritual journey. You’ll also be given a chance to sign up for an eight-week series of emails that will offer some suggestions, coaching for how you can grow spiritually, and ways you can go deeper in love of God and neighbor.
Renewal Works will also compile all the responses they receive from persons in the Diocese of New Jersey to provide us with an aggregate picture of the whole diocesan community. Please note, the process is confidential and no one else in the Diocese of New Jersey will know your individual answers. We will only be given a summary of the whole.
The resource for this Diocese of New Jersey project will only available during a short window, from Oct. 9–30. You will be receiving notices providing you with additional information and a link to take you to the survey. Follow the link and answer the questions honestly. Beginning Oct. 9, the link will be available at dioceseofnj.org/mywayoflove.
Over the past several years, as a diocesan community we have been clear that we have one purpose: to form disciples of Jesus Christ to carry out Christ’s mission of reconciliation in the world. This is a wonderful opportunity for disciples all across our diocese to better understand where you are in your spiritual journey. It is also a great opportunity for the leadership of the diocese to better understand how well we are doing at coming to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
I strongly encourage you to participate. This will not only provide you with vital insights for your own spiritual growth, it will offer us valuable information about the mission and ministry in which we are currently engaged and be a tremendous gift to the next Bishop of New Jersey.
God bless you and keep you.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Right Rev. William H. Stokes
Bishop of New Jersey