We Have Lift-off!

By Linda Buskirk

Welcome to the re-launch of By Word and Example!  We pray we will be a blessing of a blog site for the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, and anyone else who wants to take a peek. 

We apologize that we seemingly abandoned our original flight plan so abruptly.  We hit a technical wall.  Fortunately, when Jon Adamson at the diocesan office changed the platform for the diocesan website, he included this section for our BW&E blog.  Thank you, Jon!

The purpose of By Word and Example is:  To inspire congregations to act on the Five Imperatives of Ministry for our diocese, offering words from the lessons of the Diocesan Congregational Development Institute (DCDI) and other resources, and examples from our parishes and diocesan initiatives.

The Five Imperatives are:  Focus on Jesus; Think Biblically; Proclaim the Good News; Feed the Hungry; Mentor the Young.  You will find them in a row across the banner section of the blog page.  As you click on each one, you will find articles of “word” or “example” that exemplify resources or actions that relate to that Imperative.  We’ll add two new articles each month for one (1) of the Imperatives.  The “featured Imperative” will be the one that shows up first when you arrive at the blog page. 

The Five Imperatives are Bishop Little’s vision of what he prays the Diocese of Northern Indiana of today “will bequeath to future generations of Christians.”   To learn more, visit this link for the Bishop’s address to the 2013 Diocesan Convention:

Bishop's Address

We encourage you to sign up for monthly emails alerting you to By Word and Example updates.  We would also love to include news from around the Diocese of these Imperatives being lived out.  So, if you have an example to share, or would like to provide a word article about a lesson learned, or a book review, please contact me via email. 

In His service,

Linda Buskirk

Linda Buskirk, Editor, By Word and Example

Email:  Linda@buskirksolutions.com

Contributing Editors

Jon Adamson

Kelley Renz

The Rev. Canon SuzeAnne Silla

Rev. Jim Stanley

The Gift of Stability

By Kelley Renz

We know the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting; it comes and goes with circumstance, with physical feeling, with state of mind. But joy, joy is a constant, or an almost constant that comes with a certain connection with God. It is an abiding lightness of being, a positive outlook that is unshaken by exterior or even interior unrest.


So it is with what I will call belief and stability. Belief, too, is fleeting. I can believe when all is well, when evidence gives way to a firm hold, or even perhaps when small obstacles are met, measured, and deemed conquerable. Belief rests on me and my perceptions of my own strength. I choose whether or not to empower belief, just as I choose happiness. Not so with stability.


Stability is gift. Stability rests with God and my perception of God’s strength. Therefore, stability is not fleeting, nor is it based on circumstance. It transcends what is. I do not choose stability any more than I choose joy. However, I can prepare for the gift. I can nurture a place in myself for it to reside. Through prayer, through reflection on God’s faithfulness, through focus, I contribute to my hold on this great gift from God.


Stability is the reason we remain – even in the face of doubt, boredom, chaos, fear – just because a still small voice urges us to do so.




I vow to stand firm! I laugh,

 O God of iron feet:

 Tis not my strength with which I stand

 And yet You accept this vow from me.


I say, "I love"; I say, "I give,"

 But I do nothing of the kind.

 Tis You who love and You who give

 Borrowing body, soul, and mind.


Fear's below when great winds blow

 When rafters come falling down

 I marvel as "I" stand among

 And balance on shaking ground.


For You touch my self and make me firm

 I need only speak Your Name

 And amid shifting sands and chaos

 My God -- look!-- You and I remain!

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

By Jim Stanley

     I have collected authentic Civil War artifacts since I was 12.   I haven’t just read about muskets, bayonets, haversacks and wool kepis. I have handled them. I have felt their heft, admired their workmanship, and wondered at their scratchy, woolen texture. I have been to the places where they were used. There is something almost unspeakably moving about standing in the searing July heat in Gettysburg and marveling at how men did such a thing. Do that; drink it all in; and you will find it impossible not to feel a sense of awe, wonder and gratitude for those who lived and died at that time.

     So what has this to do with the spiritual development of individual Christians and congregations? As Canon SuzeAnne Silla puts it, “It’s vital to each Christian in the Diocese of Northern Indiana to nurture their individual faith through reading the Bible, prayer, receiving communion and going deeper with Jesus. But when we do these things as a community, our own personal faith and experience become a part of and inform the whole.” Diocesan trips to the Holy Land in 2011 and 2013 have proven to be among the most effective tools in accomplishing this mission. 34 members of the diocese went on the first trip and 32 participated in the second.

    Canon Silla suggests, “When you walk where Jesus walked or pray in a garden very much akin to what Gethsemane would have been like you find a deeper texture and connectedness to the Gospel.” One of the most powerful and transformative experiences for pilgrims was walking the way of the cross. Canon Silla says participants have the opportunity to carry a heavy cross – it takes three people to bear it – on part of the walk. There, and at most other places during the 10 day pilgrimage, Scripture is read. “The words of the Bible come to life in surprising, powerful new ways”, Canon Silla says. “We’re no longer reading about events of long ago. In a quite palpable way, we are experiencing those events and wondering together about what it must have been like.”

     The word “together” is an incredibly important adjective where these trips are concerned. As with any tour group, there is camaraderie, laughter, fellowship and fun. But this is something more. Here, disciples of Jesus are able to almost immediately share their impressions, discoveries, hopes and experiences with other pilgrims. Two people may have very different emotions and feelings while walking in the Kidron Valley or praying at the Church of the Annunciation. When they can relate those thoughts and impressions to someone else – often someone from the same parish – there is not only a deepening of individual faith, there is a strengthening of congregational bonds.

     Canon Silla has participated in nine trips to the Holy Land, including the two with the Diocese of Northern Indiana. Each of those trips, she says, has been with diocesan groups and in every single case, the experience has helped to build and strengthen congregations. Canon Silla hopes additional Holy Land pilgrimages happen for our diocese. She would particularly recommend that congregations try to plan such events, either as their own group or by partnering with another congregation from the diocese. Mother Susan Haynes of St. Paul’s Mishawaka and Deb Miller of Trinity Logansport have both expressed an interest in coordinating future trips. Individuals or congregations interested in organizing another Holy Land journey should contact Deb Miller by calling the church:  574-753-2733.