Our Dear Bishop Ackerman to Retire

29 Oct

For the past few days we have been blessed to have Bishop Ackerman here at Nashotah House for trustee meetings and the ordinations of six new Quincy deacons.  At a meeting last night for the Quincy seminarians, their spouses, and staff/faculty canonically resident , +Ackerman announced his retirement as of November 1, 2008.  While we are so sad that this must be, we are happy that he and Jo (Mrs. Ackerman) will have some much needed rest and time together.  We also know that he will be continuing with Episcopal duties.  We know that though he will not be functioning as our bishop any longer, he certainly is not going anywhere.

I must tell you that I have two overwhelming and very different emotions when it comes to this present situation.  I have an amazing love for +Ackerman.  I doubt that I could respect anyone more than I do him.  As my dear co-worker would say, I would follow him into hell with a squirt gun.  +Ackerman and the Diocese of Quincy are actually one of the reasons Matthew and I decided to move back to Davenport (just across the river from the diocese).  We knew that with the state of the church, we could trust and follow the good bishop and whatever decisions he and the diocese made.  We have never been disappointed or regretted the decision.

+Ackerman is the dearest man I’ve ever met.  I’ve seen him stop in the middle of a sermon to remind some children playing in the back of the sanctuary that Jesus loves them and give them pocket crosses to remind them of such.  I’ve watched him get down on the floor to meet and bless my daughter for the first time.  It seems that everyone has a +Ackerman story.  Most of all, he is the godliest man I’ve ever met.  He fervently champions the Orthodox church in a loving, humble manner to a group of heretical hatemongers. This is where the second emotion comes in.

I am furious.  I am bsolutely furious that this holy man of God; this humble servant of Our Lord has been persecuted by the national “church” in such a manner that his physical health and his safety in his vocation have been threatened and has led to this decision.  I am furious that simply believing and speaking the revealed word of God is earning faithful men (+Duncan, +Iker, +Ackerman…etc._) targets on their heads in the shape of depositions.  I find it rediculous that “christians” (though musn’t one believe in the diviinity of Christ to call oneself that?) are vocationally martyring christian leaders for simply shepherding the souls that have been entrusted to them in the way they should go and for speaking out against the actions and beliefs that will slowly (or not so slowly) kill the church. 

The Diocese of Quincy will miss Bishop Ackerman in the way he has served it in for the last fifteen years, but is certainly looking forward to his leadership in this next chapter of the church.  I regret that his thoughts have had to dwell on the not-so-pleasant things of this life and hope that he and Jo may spend and enjoy much time together and  continue their service to Our Lord and His Church..

As for Matthew and I, we trust in the diocese and the Standing Committee to lead us and make the decision as to whether we will re-align with the world-wide communion.  We anxiously await our diocesan synod early in November and look forward to seeing a (hopefully) well-rested, retired eighth bishop of Quincy and his dear wife.

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