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On the Way   The Rt. Rev. Audrey Scanlan
new year’s resolutions… or… the 2019 tweak.

It seems that last year I wrote about the custom of making New Year’s Resolutions in this blog. (see here: https://www.diocesecpa.org/blog/2018/01/05/transformation/  )  I am a fan of the annual opportunity for reflection and aspirational goal setting that can result in the crafting of New Year’s Resolutions.  I am not quite as diligent as my seminary classmate who regularly spends the first day of the new year with her husband, children and day-planner to map out the year, but I am enthusiastic enough that I give more than a passing thought to how it is that I move through my days, and I like to think about how things could be tweaked in order to live more in concert with what is important to me.


Last August, I re-wrote my Rule of Life.  I used a form laid out in Charles LaFond’s new book Notes to Selfin which I identified 10 areas of importance in my life and then wrote three “mini chapters” on each of the ten large subject headings.  As an example, some of the ten large subject headings in my new Rule of Life include “Health, Study, Prayer, Nature, Recreation-Creativity, Family…” and within each of these ten headings I have three sub-categories-  ie:  for “Recreation-Creativity” the three sub-categories are “Patron/participant in the Arts, Reading for Pleasure, Cooking.”  There is a statement for each of these three sub-categories about how I want to participate in those areas, optimally.  It’s not a hard and fast Rule, but a reminder of what is important to me.  Each day I read one of the 30 small chapters on one of the sub-categories to remind me and to give focus to the things that I value.   I took an extended solo camping trip to reflect and write my Rule, and I am grateful for that time and what emerged from it.


New Year’s resolutions are another chance to name what is important, to shift things slightly in the framework of our lives, and to claim some sense of agency for ourselves. Last year, I resolved to write in a diary every single day of 2018.  I am a life-long journal-er, but never for an entire year, day-by-day, faithfully.  It’s not that my life is notable enough to record the daily events, really, but I wanted consistent and complete record of one trip around the sun. I did it.  I informally titled this journal “While the Coffee Drips” because my practice evolved into a quick 10-minute time of free-journaling each morning while I waited for the morning’s caffeine fix to settle in the pot.  Many of my entries began: “Tired.” And many, also, “Excited for today!”  Some entries were a bland re-telling of the appointments that I had taken the day before, some were travelogues of my drives across and through Pennsylvania, some were written in hotels or tents or cabins or cottages … but most of them were penned from the big leather arm chair in the corner of my living room. I’m glad I made it through last year faithful to this project and someday, years into the future, I think that I will enjoy re-reading the diary of 2018.


This year, I resolve, again, to be a better steward of resources-  not to waste food, water, “consummables” like paper, electricity and heat.  I will, like my mother always told me, “Go and put on a sweater.”  Being cold is one of my great dislikes and, for those of you who follow along on Facebook, you know that the “thermostat wars” are real in our house.  I am going to try to get better at that, really, but I can’t guarantee that my hubby’s preferred 50 degrees in the house will ever be my shared preference.

Resolutions are to be realistic, after all.


As I look towards this coming year, work-wise for me, I see a number of changes on the horizon:  an intensified effort at working with congregations who are ready to re-imagine their structure and way of “being church”  is happily taking an increasingly large amount of my time, and this is evolving into the launching of a diocesan-wide project on becoming “right-shaped” for mission. Continuing efforts to get into the community and lead by example in the Bishop Out of the Box program is commanding energy, my desire to participate more deeply in pockets of our diocesan life like the Youth ministry “Happening” event,  and the Stevenson School Learning Weekends are helping to focus my calendar, and my every-other month meetings with Convocational Clergy are vital to offering support and sharing information.  My Sunday visits remain at the top of my priority list as we come together to worship in Word and Sacrament as the gathered people of God. This is a rich and good life leading as your bishop in Central Pennsylvania.


Something’s got to give. It’s time to tweak the schedule. I am going to shift the frequency of this blog from once per week to once per month for 2019 and see where that takes us. My goals for this blog have been to share some of my own life and thoughts as I live into the role of bishop in this place; to educate, inspire and raise questions about Church, Faith and Congregational Development; and, quite honestly, to pay attention to something that I love to do: write.    By blogging once per month (I’m going to aim for the first Friday of each month) I think that I will still be able to achieve my goals for this blog and make time for the other activities that 2019 are asking of me.


What resolutions, if any, are you on about in 2019?  What do you think about resolutions?  How (do you?) manage your daily-weekly-monthly calendar?


See you in February.







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