November 9, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters,
Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the 185th Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, I shared the story of the design of my Episcopal ring. As the granddaughter of Greek immigrants, this history has played a significant role in my faith formation. Over the years, I have been the grateful recipient of several treasured family keepsakes. These have included my great-grandmother’s icons and my cousin’s well-worn Greek Orthodox prayerbook. And, on my one-year wedding anniversary to Jimmy, this beautifully embroidered cross. We believe that this century-old heirloom was attached to a stole or vestment, and that it traveled with my family when they immigrated to Ellis Island from the Greek island of Syros. I can imagine it tucked away in a small bag—a family treasure that made the long journey across the seas.
My ring reflects the faith journey that has brought me to this point. It is a journey that began generations ago on a small island in Greece and continued to the United States where my ancestors helped begin a Greek Orthodox seminary. So, I share this image with you along with the virtues it represents: Faith, Hope and Love. The Cross is the symbol of our faith in Jesus; the anchor the symbol of hope, providing a “safe haven” from the storm; the heart the symbol of love, connecting us to Jesus’ command to abide with one another in love.
In just over a week, we will gather at Christ Church Cathedral for my ordination as the twelfth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. When this ring is presented to me, it will not only symbolize the vows I make as bishop, but it will also be a constant reminder of how we are bound together through faith, hope and love. Additionally, over the next three years, we will take each of these virtues and focus on them as a diocese. How do we grow in our faith? How do we spread hope to those in our communities? And ultimately, how do we reflect the life-giving love of Jesus Christ?
As your Canon to the Ordinary for the last nine years, I have had the opportunity to travel from one corner of the diocese to the other. Your faces, congregations, and ministries are wonderfully familiar to me. Now we are invited to create the space to get to know one another in new ways as I become your bishop. I am excited about the work that we have in front of us, and I look forward to sharing my vision for the diocese with you as our new shared ministry unfolds.
I am also so happy to announce that the Reverend Morgan MacIntire has accepted my call to serve as the Canon to the Ordinary. Morgan is a 2004 graduate of Rhodes College with a BA in Religious Studies, and she earned her Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2008. Before moving to the Diocese of Louisiana, she served as an associate at Trinity Episcopal Church, Manassas in the Diocese of Virginia, and as Rector of St. James Episcopal Church, Shreveport in the Diocese of Western Louisiana. For the last seven years she has served as the Associate Rector/ Chaplain at Christ Episcopal Church and School in Covington. Morgan and her husband Angus have three children and reside in Mandeville. Morgan enters this position with a tremendous amount of experience, creativity, and knowledge of the workings of the church, as well as the wider diocese. She is a talented teacher and preacher and has been a trusted confidant to me. This position carries with it great responsibility, as she will help frame and implement our ministry as a diocese. Please join me in welcoming her to this new role, which she will assume in January.
Additionally, I have asked Deacon Charles deGravelles to take on the role of Archdeacon. Charlie was ordained a vocational deacon in 1995, and has served for over thirty years with women and men both in, and transitioning out of, prison. He was a chaplain and teacher at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, and now serves as the director of their Quest for Peace program. Charlie also leads worship and provides pastoral support to the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Rosedale. He is a writer, musician, and graphic artist. He and his wife, Angela, have three children and two grandchildren. Together, we have already begun re-invigorating the Council of Deacons. This group will continue to support the ministry of our current vocational deacons, and will also focus on how we identify and form those seeking holy orders. I am grateful for his many years of ministry, and look forward to continuing our work together.
In closing, I ask for your prayers as we move together into this new relationship. May we always hold before us the grace that is found through our faith in Jesus Christ, our constant hope for the world in which we live, and the love that will sustain us through it all.
May the peace of God bless and sustain you and yours,
The Rev. Canon Shannon Rogers Duckworth
Bishop-elect, The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana