Story and photos by Charmaine Robledo
Director of Communications, Mountain Sky Area of The United Methodist Church
Members of the Rocky Mountain Conference sent their well-wishes and prayers for Bishop Elaine Stanovsky during a farewell celebration July 31 at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. The reception brought active and retired clergy and lay leaders together to recall Stanovsky's eight years of ministry in the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area.
"We made you a bishop!" said the Rev. Dr. Melanie Rosa, superintendent of the Mile High Pikes Peak District and dean of the Rocky Mountain Conference cabinet.
During her speech, Stanovsky read a card from a colleague, who about 30 years earlier, told her that he would see her in Seattle as a bishop. Stanovsky took that prophetic message as a sign for her new assignment as bishop of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area, based near Seattle, Washington.
"We will bump into each other again," Stanovsky said, adding until then, "I trust we'll hold one another in prayer."
Rev. Brad Laurvick, pastor of Highlands United Methodist Church and a member of the Episcopal Transition Team, read this blessing as attendees circled Stanovsky in prayer:
"God of change and glory, God of time and space – we surround with grace and love one who has led us into ministry. Those gathered here represent the thousands beyond who have been blessed by the nurturing episcopal care of Bishop Elaine Stanovsky. She has called us to life abundant. She has walked alongside us as a pilgrim. She has tended to us with love and wisdom. This day, as we celebrate her ministry with us, we also ask blessing upon the ministry that lies before her. For she once again has responded to the itinerant call with a faithful, "Here I am, send me."
"O God, we pray for your bountiful blessing upon your servant, Bishop Elaine. May she continue to guide the life of the church as you have called her to do. That The United Methodist Church would be more loving and Christ-like because of her service. May she continue to grow in wisdom, guided by your Spirit in her work of appointing and locating the ordained and licensed. May her voice echo strongly, guided by the prophetic heart you have placed within her. May the offering of her honest self bless all those she humbly serves. And may the people of the Greater Northwest Area – the 'people called Methodist' in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington – may they receive her with the same love and grace from which she now departs. May they, too, come to know and cherish her as their bishop.
"We commit ourselves to continue the work she has begun among us, knowing that the disciple-making and transforming ministry she has sown will reap benefits for generations to come. And so with thanksgiving and hope, we commend her transition and new beginnings into your hands, O loving and faithful God. Amen."
Did you miss the farewell celebration? You can send a card to the Episcopal Office at 6110 Greenwood Plaza Blvd, Greenwood Village, CO 80111. Gifts in her honor may be made to: The Bishop’s Native Peoples Fund. Make checks out to RMC with “Native Peoples Fund” in the memo line, or go to the conference website and click the green Donate button at the top of the page.