by Bishop Sally Dyck
As I leave Minnesota, I want to thank all of you for the welcome and support that both Ken and I received while here. One of the joys of the journey I've been on in this ministry is being able to live and work in Minnesota. Have I mentioned to you lately how much we have loved living in this wonderful state? One of my intentional goals was to make sure that the rest of the country as well as the United Methodist Church knew what a great place this is to live and to be the church of Jesus Christ.
If you've always lived in Minnesota, you might not even notice some of the great things about living in Minnesota or assume that they are common everywhere. For instance, the plowing of public walkways. That alone was a major factor in my being able to run year round—in the years with the big snow and any other!
I also like the extreme weather. Everyone outside of Minnesota knows that it gets really cold here. The coldest while we lived here was 22 degrees below zero. I think that was the day a group of us sang Christmas carols outside at the Vikings game on Christmas Eve 2004 to share a little joy! But summer is a special season in Minnesota; appreciated and lived to the fullest in a way that much of the rest of the country doesn't understand! I always thought we should have annual conference sessions over a weekend but I quickly came to realize that people in Minnesota would rather give up a couple work days rather than a weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day!
I have truly come to love the people of Minnesota, too—especially the United Methodists. I love your history of people coming, mostly as immigrants in the 19th century, and pioneering life along the Mississippi River or out on the prairie. You have a heritage of creativity and resilience that I encourage you to continue to tap during these times of change and stress.
Thanks for the ministries that you as United Methodists do every day, year in and year out. Caring for the homeless and hungry throughout the state, working for justice for all people, offering support when people are grieving, helping to educate young minds in the schools as well as the faith, and when disaster strikes, you are there as a witness that God loves and cares in the midst of it. When culture changes around you—and it will—use that Minnesotan creativity to use it as a way of reaching out in the name of Jesus to your neighbors.
A new context in ministry
I'm delighted that Bishop Bruce Ough will be coming to this new episcopal area—the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area. Repeat after me: this is not a merger, but a two-point charge. He will find ways to connect to United Methodists throughout this "almost Texas-sized" area, but you need to work at connecting with him, too, as he implements new and strategic ways of being the resident bishop.
I'm also delighted to be going to Northern Illinois. One of the primary reasons is that it is totally different from Minnesota. I didn't want to go next to another episcopal area that was like Minnesota because it could never compare! I look forward to building on what I've learned as a bishop over the last eight years and applying it to a new context in ministry...just like you do when you go to a new church as clergy or laity.
Good-bye and thank you, Minnesota, for all that you are, all that you do in ministry in the name of Jesus, and all that you can yet be as you cultivate spiritual vitality and reach new people!
God bless you!
Bishop Sally Dyck served the Minnesota episcopal area from 2004 to 2012.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church