Today is my first day back in the office since the last week of May, having just returned from a wonderful three-month sabbatical during the summer. It is good to be back! I return refreshed, rested, and reinvigorated.
My time away was highlighted by some beach time in Florida, for reading, reflection and writing; a mini retreat and daily mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England; and short visits to London and Rome. In addition to completing a study of the Epistle to the Ephesians and reading 21 books (a mixture of religious or theological works and some fiction and non-fiction best sellers), I was also able to pull together and type up various meditations and sermons I have given over the past 22 years to the clergy of the Diocese, which I hope to make available to interested readers later this year. It was also a great opportunity for some real quality time with Donna and our two granddaughters, now approaching their 18th and 16th birthdays.
I am deeply grateful to the Diocese for allowing me this time away and to Dean Bill Crary who covered for me in the office, as was needed. My staff is to be commended for the wonderful work they continued in my absence from the office during the sabbatical, and I am grateful to the clergy for being so good about respecting my time away and not contacting me except in a few cases where it was needed.
Now it is full steam ahead with preparations for a new diocesan budget for 2016 and our upcoming 33rd Annual Diocesan Convention in November. Our theme this year will be “To God Be The Glory.” Information about all this will be coming to you later this month.
With Fr. Scott Wooten moving to Arlington to become Rector of St. Peter and St. Paul Church, it has been necessary to appoint a new Dean for the Northern Deanery, and I am pleased to say that Fr. John Munson has accepted my request to serve in this new capacity, effective today.
Now that I am back, please do not hesitate to contact me as needed, and I will look forward to seeing all of you in the months ahead as I return to my regular Sunday morning visitations beginning this week.
With gratitude and affection,
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Third Bishop of Fort Worth