Questionnaire Responses of the Very Rev. Tracey Lind
1. Our Diocese is looking for a person with a robust and articulated spiritual life. Describe for us your personal spirituality and prayer life. What practices do you follow regularly? What experiences have most profoundly contributed to your spiritual life? What or who has most influenced you; how have those influences changed over time? How have you articulated your spiritual vision to others?
I have a strong sense of call to follow Jesus and a deep and abiding commitment to serve in his name. My spiritual journey began as the child of a Jewish-Christian family. Called to ordained ministry, not knowing where I fit in, I wrestled with God until my mid-twenties when my struggle led me to Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
By the end of my first semester, I was exhausted. Walking down 42nd Street one day, asking God to release me, it happened: a voice called to me from within saying, “I’m not going to let go of you.” The voice called me by name, identified itself as God, confronted me with my own issues and private wounds, contradicted my theology, answered my questions, and called me to the ordained priesthood.
When I asked why the voice was talking with me, it responded, “Because you’ve been asking for it.” It was true. I had been begging, even challenging God to be clear with me, to help me sort out my religious identity and vocation. And here I was — by this time sitting in a McDonald’s in the middle of Manhattan — having this private conversation with a voice. “If you’re inside of me,” I asked, “then how can you be God?” I’ll never forget the response: “What’s so special about me is that I’m inside of anyone, and everyone, who wants to know me. And, if the world would hear and follow me, my kingdom would come.” With that, the conversation ended and I walked home in quiet amazement.
A few days later, one of my professors said that faith is a two-way street: it is both a gift from God, and our decision to accept the gift. I didn’t know if I had talked with God, but in a letter to a friend I wrote, “If I don’t accept the voice of God on faith now, I don’t think I’ll ever get a more direct message.”
I have been faithful to this voice for nearly three decades. It has called me to follow the Baptismal Covenant as a rule of life, and I encourage my congregation to do the same, reciting it as a regular part of Sunday worship. As I say the Daily Office, I remember my baptism and the promises I made. In keeping with those promises, I have encouraged a number of young people to enter seminary, sponsored some for ordination, and urged others to nurture their vocation in the world. In fact, Trinity Cathedral, where I am currently dean, has called so many young adults into vocation that we have been affirmed as a Calling Congregation by the Fund for Theological Education.
I am attentive to my own spiritual practice and speak of it openly. I maintain a discipline of prayer, reading, meditation and exercise, and have a spiritual director and colleague groups with whom I share the joys and challenges of my religious and vocational journey.
My foremost spiritual influences have been the people I have served. Homeless people in shelters and soup kitchens have taught me grace and gratitude. Immigrants and refugees have demonstrated courage and perseverance. The LGBT community has embodied the importance of being true to oneself in spite of the cost. Environmentalists have instilled in me the stewardship of creation. Children, especially those at Trinity Cathedral, have given me the gifts of joy and laughter, and young adults have challenged me to ask questions.
The theologians of the Holocaust, especially Elie Wiesel and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, have called me to worship God and follow Jesus with my face towards Auschwitz. Angela de Merici, a 15th century, third order Franciscan and founder of the Ursuline community, introduced me to piazza as an organizing principle of life and a metaphor for meeting Christ at the crossroads. Desmond Tutu has influenced my thinking and actions about truth and reconciliation.
Pilgrimage has played a large part in my spiritual formation and my eyes and heart have been opened, sometimes painfully, while visiting the Sisters of St. Margaret in Haiti, witnessing for peace in Nicaragua and El Salvador, praying at Taize, journeying to the Holy Land, searching for my roots in Southern Ohio, and photographing New Orleans shortly after Katrina.
During the summer of 2009, my partner, Emily, and I walked the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route across Northern Spain. We planned our Camino to coincide with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church so that we might pray for our church as it gathered to wrestle with difficult issues of faith and order. Ascending to the Cruz de Ferro, an iron cross on the highest point of the Camino, we left behind a button that read “The Episcopal Church is Alive and Welcoming in the 21st Century.”
I look for God in the silence of the written word and though the third eye of my camera. My book, Interrupted by God: Glimpses from the Edge, is a collection of photographs, stories and theological reflections. Exhibiting my photographs and posting my blog have become part of my proclamation of the Gospel. Through preaching, teaching, and conversation, I tell God’s story, the stories of our spiritual ancestors, and those I have encountered along the way — working to spread the good news, strengthen relationships, build bridges, grow the church, and nurture the community of faith.
2. Describe your leadership style. Where do you range on the spectrum between “big picture”, leaving execution to others, and “hands on”, giving your personal attention to details? Please give examples. How would you go about developing a strategic vision for the Diocese? The Diocese of New York is large and complex; its parts have varied strengths and problems. What sorts of tasks would you hold to yourself; what sorts of tasks would you feel comfortable delegating to others? What qualities would you look for in hiring Diocesan staff? How would you deal with disagreement, discord or disaffection within the Diocese?
My theology and leadership style are grounded in the biblical principles of vision, change, collegiality, stewardship, and servanthood.
Vision: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18)
Community and organizational visions develop organically, and good leaders encourage and celebrate the process. I love working with people to discern, develop, articulate and implement God’s vision, and I have demonstrated skillful leadership in a variety of congregational, diocesan and civic settings.
Upon my arrival at Trinity Cathedral, I took up the architectural plans for a $10 million redevelopment of a joint cathedral/diocesan campus. I offered to the project a vision of piazza, or commons, resulting in an awardwinning, sacred landmark. As Cleveland’s first green building, Trinity Commons reflects a commitment to sacred public space, environmental sustainability, and the ministry of hospitality. Over the past few years, Trinity has successfully promoted the vision of the commons to inspire the rebuilding of a just and sustainable civic landscape.
In Paterson, New Jersey, I led St. Paul’s Church to establish a parish-based community development corporation (CDC). With our stakeholders, we created a wide variety of programs and services to help alleviate the city’s chronic hunger, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy. We took our vision of shared ministry into neighboring suburbs, recruited 300+ volunteers, engaged 30 congregations, and built a diversified base of public, private and parochial funding. Twenty years later, St. Paul’s CDC is still growing and evolving.
The Diocese of New York is strong and vibrant, and committed to mission and ministry in the 21st century. Yet in the words of the profile, “…times have changed, and so must the church.” If called to serve as your bishop, I would listen to and learn about your hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses, assets and resources, and then work with congregations, clergy and lay leaders to shape a vision for the future. Together, we would identify and examine our human, financial structural and spiritual assets, and align them for effective and sustainable ministry throughout the diocese and in the world.
Change: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Leaders need to embrace change and guide people through it without too much disruption of the human psyche and institutional soul. As Trinity’s dean, I have led the cathedral through realignment of our governance structure, consolidation of our finances, and reorganization of our staff. In each case, we assessed the situation, identified current strengths and weakness, and considered best practices of other cathedrals.
Sometimes change involves conflict. My career started with a landlord/tenant dispute and led to the establishment of a program that provided mediation, education and support for low-income tenants and landlords. Over the years, I have concluded that able leaders resolve conflict by first acknowledging it and then encouraging the community to move forward with discussion, negotiation, resolution and, hopefully, reconciliation.
A bishop must lead from the altar, the pulpit, the center aisle, and the back of the procession, helping to find unity within diversity of perspectives. As your bishop, I would hope to acknowledge any disagreement, discord or disaffection among us, and then, to the best of my ability, be a voice for inclusion of all perspectives. I would be prepared to listen carefully to the many and varied voices within the diocese, and with the wisdom of God, seek to find common ground.
I have learned from my own bishop the importance of staying in relationship with the disaffected, and I would seek to do the same. I would not force myself on anyone—it is not Christ-like—and in the end, everyone loses. I would hope to build strong and honest relationships with the people and congregations of the diocese so that we might develop a deep and abiding culture of trust.
Collegiality: “For we are God’s servants, working together.” (1 Corinthians 3:9)
Over the past three decades, I have known the joys and challenges of recruiting, training, evaluating, promoting — and occasionally firing — staff and volunteers. In two secular, and two parochial settings, I have had the opportunity to assemble and manage a staff team.
I started at St. Paul’s Church in 1989 with a staff of four. By the time I left in 2000, through the establishment of St. Paul’s CDC, we had built a diverse staff of 30 employees and 27 AmeriCorps volunteers. Leading and inspiring the staff was my responsibility, and learning from both our successes and failures was a key part of the job.
Over the course of a decade at Trinity Cathedral, we have navigated a transition in episcopal leadership, managed the retirement of two 30+ year senior staff, and redeployed other long-tenured clergy and lay employees. We have built an operations team for the Commons and a program team for the Cathedral, and created curacies for young clergy and musicians. In August, we launched an Episcopal Service Corps site for young adults discerning vocation.
A leader is only as good as his or her team. When calling clergy and lay employees, I look for task competency, effective communications, flexibility, the ability to work with others, the temperament to manage conflict, the capacity to multi-task and last, but not least, a sense of humor. I try to hire honest and forthright people who can name their strengths, manage their boundaries, and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
If called to serve among you, I would embrace the current diocesan staff, assess individual and collective strengths, and build skills and relationships. The diocese needs a strong, capable, and trustworthy staff in place so the bishop can focus on visionary, institutional, pastoral, and public leadership. As Bishop Coadjutor, I would look forward to learning from Bishop Sisk and developing strong collegial relationships with other bishops, especially those serving in the New York metropolitan area.
Stewardship: “All things come of thee O Lord, and of thy own have we given thee.” (1 Chronicles 29:14)
The church is expected to be a creative, faithful and responsible steward and fiduciary agent of financial resources. Over the course of my career in the church and the non-profit sector, I have raised, budgeted, allocated, invested and saved millions of dollars for the work the Gospel, always seeking to balance the needs and pressures of the world with the mission and fabric of the church. I have managed small and large operating budgets and endowments, and overseen complex building projects and fund raising efforts. As your bishop, I would be clear about my personal commitment to stewardship and encourage every priest, deacon and layperson to do the same, calling for generous individual and congregational giving as well as responsible stewardship of diocesan assets including property, funds and human resources.
Good stewardship is a powerful and prophetic witness to the gospel, and a gracious and embracing way of showing people the boundless love of God made known in Christ. Jesus reminded his followers about the inter-relatedness and inter-dependency of all creation. I want to be part of a diocese that treats the earth as God’s sacred vineyard, building and maintaining sustainable communities, and modeling a sustainable lifestyle on this fragile island.
Servanthood: “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43)
As ordained clergy, we are called to lead God’s people, but as Jesus said to his disciples, we are first called to be servants. In his writings to the Church of Rome, the apostle Paul outlined some of the distinctive marks of servant leadership: genuine love, affection and concern for others; ability to distinguish between good and evil; commitment to doing what is honorable; zealous and ardent in spirit; hopeful, patient, and perseverant; open and hospitable to new people and ideas. (Romans 12:9–13) I try to embody these characteristics in my own leadership.
Your profile seeks a bishop who will build upon the legacies of the past and lead a process of transformational and sustainable change for the people and churches of God in the Diocese of New York. I am prepared to meet both the challenges and opportunities of the episcopacy with humility, confidence, determination, vision and love, asking for guidance from God and from the collegiality of clergy and lay leaders.
3. A Diocesan Ordinary is at once Chief Pastor to the Diocese, especially its clergy, and Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese. What connection do you see between the two roles of the Bishop? How do you deal with errors or misjudgments of those under your supervision? How have you juggled pastoral and administrative roles in your prior and present positions? Do you think you are better qualified for one or the other?
In my current position, I serve as senior pastor of the cathedral congregation and chief executive officer of Trinity Cathedral and Trinity Commons. My work is fast-paced and varied. In a single day, I can find myself speaking to the press, welcoming visiting dignitaries, offering words of greeting at a diocesan gathering, saying an opening prayer at a community meeting, reviewing a budget, working with church leaders, soliciting a foundation, sitting with a frustrated colleague, and counseling a stranger in need of food or shelter. With the help of an able assistant, a smart phone and a laptop, I have learned how to manage my time, paperwork, calendar and energy.
Healthy clergy are essential to a healthy church, and the bishop is clearly charged with pastoral care and oversight for diocesan clergy. As pastor to nearly twenty clergy members of the Trinity congregation, and as dean of a cathedral where diocesan clergy often gather, I enjoy supporting my colleagues, especially reaching out to them in times of celebration, transition and distress.
With God’s help, I would model my pastoral leadership on the best practices of the bishops with whom I have served, those who lead with clarity and compassion; follow with patience and persistence; and truly listen to and respect those who serve the church. I would support, encourage and challenge the clergy of our diocese; protect their gifts, health and wellbeing; and foster appropriate compensation, continuing education, ministry review and renewal.
To the best of my ability, I would make time for seminarians, priests and deacons, and encourage clergy collegiality through the clericus structure, conferences, retreats, table fellowship, and natural affinity groups. Perhaps most importantly, I would seek to make episcopal visits chances to celebrate ministry and build parochial relationships rather than occasions for clergy stress; and I would strive to lead diocesan conventions that are meaningful, fun and spiritually uplifting for clergy and laity alike.
Often the most difficult and painful work of a bishop lies in addressing misconduct and misjudgment, and in addressing conflicts between congregations and their clergy and/or lay staff. I would strive to be clear about my expectations of both clergy and lay employees, and would act on personnel issues in a timely fashion. When necessary, I would administer the disciplinary canons of our church in a responsible and pastoral manner, expressing concern for the victim, the perpetrator, the whistle blower, and the affected community. I have learned the hard way that it is unwise to postpone the inevitable.
As one who values authentic and mutual relationships, I try to treat my colleagues with respect, affection and trust. I am willing to admit my own mistakes and quick to apologize when I have failed or hurt someone. I try to call forth the best in myself and in other people.
4. New York is one of the nation’s and the world’s major economic, political, and cultural centers. Historically Bishops of New York have played leadership roles in the National church and the Anglican Communion. How does that tradition fit with your vision of the Bishop of New York? What role should the Bishop of New York play in the House of Bishops? How should the Bishop of New York deal with other religious or secular communities in the City, in the Nation? How active should the Bishop be with respect to issues of economic or social justice? How would you go about creating that role for yourself? Which activities have you been involved in, which have particularly interested you; which are those you think you are particularly qualified for?
For me, the answers to the most critical challenges facing today’s church lie in cultivating the ability to live with imagination and creativity the dream of God incarnated in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Wider Church
The polity of the Episcopal Church calls a bishop not only to lead and proclaim the Gospel, but also to join with other bishops, clergy and laity to lead the Church to a greater realization of our common mission.
As a new bishop, I would join the House of Bishops with interest and enthusiasm. Through my work as a cathedral dean, trustee of the Church Pension Fund, former deputy to General Convention, member of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes, and participant in wider church networks and coalitions, I have gotten to know a number of the bishops of our church and enjoy collegial relationships with them. I would look forward to the conversation, collaboration, and prayerful dissent and disagreement of the House.
In light of what I have learned in my work with the Church Pension Group, I would pay particular attention to the spiritual, physical, emotional and economic wellbeing of our churches, clergy, lay employees and their families. As a director of Church Publishing, Inc., publisher of our prayer book, hymnal and educational resources, I am especially interested in how the Episcopal Church can communicate most effectively the good news of Jesus Christ in worship, music and teaching. And finally, as one called to serve the most vulnerable and powerless of God’s people, I would foster compassion for and ministry with the poor, the outcast, and the oppressed.
The Anglican Communion and Beyond
The Diocese of New York, along with its parishes and parishioners, has long-standing mission and companion relationships with churches, dioceses, schools, relief and development organizations, and provinces throughout the Anglican Communion. These relationships are one of the significant reasons I am interested in discerning episcopal ministry with you. I believe that the Anglican Communion will rise or fall on the strength of these relationships, and I will do my best to see it rise.
As a bishop, I would work to ensure that the Episcopal Church never accepts the false choice between fidelity to the commitments to LGBT people that it has made in good conscience, and ever-deepening relationships with Anglican sisters and brothers around the globe. I admire the good work of Bishop Roskam on the Anglican Consultative Council, and the efforts of others in the diocese who have cultivated relationships in provinces whose understanding of human sexuality is different than our own. I would enthusiastically support such work and offer my own views, all the while keeping sight of the fact that words can ring hollow if they are not backed by a commitment to collaborate in mission.
As your bishop, I would enter the arena of global mission and ministry with profound awe for what has been accomplished, is currently underway, and might emerge over time. Building upon my own relationships and of those in the diocese, I would seek to develop an understanding and appreciation of the people and places around the world where the Diocese of New York is engaged. And then I would add my voice and energy to advancing this critical and ongoing work.
The Public Square and the Civic Realm
Jesus called his disciples to be witnesses for justice. I want to be a part of a diocese that faithfully and judiciously exercises its voice and influence in the pulpit, the soup kitchen, the boardroom, and the public square, and calls its members to do the same—a church that is enlivened by standing in solidarity with the vulnerable and the disenfranchised, unafraid to harness and exercise its power on their behalf. My heart and soul resonate with your desire that the bishop of New York be a leader in the civic conversation and a public voice of faith that reaches beyond the walls of the church and across many boundaries to speak for social and economic justice.
The Diocese of New York has a long and respected history of ecumenical, interfaith and civic engagement. I would enter this arena of ministry as I have in the past, taking the time to learn the landscape and its dynamics, and understand the current outreach, peace and justice ministry of our diocese, especially that of Episcopal Charities and the parish-based ministries it supports. As a priest, trained in city planning and experienced in community organizing, I understand the importance of walking with clergy and lay leaders in the communities they serve.
I believe that Christians are called to build bridges in the name of Christ. As a community organizer, I helped establish the nation’s first multi-site Neighborhood Housing Services program. As a newly ordained priest, I reached out to other communities of faith to serve the hungry and homeless in Northern New Jersey. During my tenure at St. Paul’s, a black teenager was tragically killed by a white police officer. In the anger and unrest which followed, St. Paul’s opened its doors for interracial dialogue and peacekeeping, and ultimately launched a summer service initiative—the CityServe Youth Program—that continues to serve Paterson and neighboring suburbs.
At Trinity Cathedral, we have created safe space for especially difficult, painful, and sometimes heated civic conversations. We have hosted meetings, forums and town halls for gang leaders and police, Palestinians and Jews, funders and grant seekers, neighborhood leaders and elected officials. Trinity Commons has been the site for interfaith education and advocacy for immigration, healthcare reform, LGBT rights, environmental protection, worker rights, and voter registration. We have welcomed Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim voices to our pulpit, and we have promoted sustainability as a way to build regional vitality and cooperation. We gather each Sunday morning as a vibrant congregation, and a meal site for the hungry and homeless.
If called to be your bishop, I would continue to make bridge-building a priority in my ministry and would encourage the congregations of our diocese to do the same. Moreover, I would do my best to be present to our churches during moments of crisis, to foster honest dialogue and community building during times of strife and division, and to model the theology of proximity, which calls us to stand next to each other in spite of our differences and to do one another no harm.
5. By entering our process, you have indicated that you are open to the possibility that God might be calling you to this important and challenging ministry. Tell us why you think you are open to that call. After reviewing the material in our information packet, which of your professional and personal experiences would equip you to meet the perceived needs of our Diocese? Which of your gifts and qualities?
God might be calling me to be your next bishop, and I am excited by this possibility. I believe I have the experience, leadership style, and pastoral gifts for episcopal ministry, and I think the time might be right for me to serve with you in the Diocese of New York.
I am an extroverted and energetic spiritual leader who truly loves God, God’s people and the Episcopal Church. Having lived and worked in a variety of church and community settings, I am comfortable with all kinds of people, music, worship, food, politics and aesthetics, and I thrive on diversity. Even when struggling in a second language, I talk with everyone I meet, often sharing the good news of God’s abundant love for us all and how it is manifested in the Episcopal Church. I strive to see the face of Christ in every person, and I am convinced that we meet Jesus in the intersections of daily life and common mission. I would welcome the opportunity to worship with a different congregation every Sunday, to celebrate the breadth and depth of diversity and vitality in the Episcopal Church, and to build up the community of faith in the Diocese of New York.
Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into the world and baptize in his name. I envision a church where we uphold baptism as our primary ordination. In many ways, our clergy have given away many tasks of the ordained vocation in an honest attempt to affirm the ministry of the laity. But more and more, we have missed the mark. The ministry of the laity is not simply about what people do in their churches; it is about what people do in the world. The job of clergy is to call forth, equip, nurture and encourage that ministry to the best of our ability. It would be a privilege to serve as pastor to the clergy of this diocese, encouraging and supporting them in their vocation as we together seek to build up the body of Christ.
The Diocese of New York has vision, mission and resources as well as some complicated structural challenges that must be addressed. I am a visionary leader who actually enjoys complexity, and I am considered a good strategic problem solver and planner. I am a willing and able fundraiser, and am experienced in fiduciary oversight and institutional governance. The questions before us are challenging: What should the Diocese of New York be and do in the 21st century? What do our churches need? What does the diocese have to offer? And what resources are required to be effective in mission and ministry? I would encourage us, together, to re-imagine, re-envision and realign the resources of our diocese for sustainability in the future.
While I am biblically grounded and steeped in Anglican identity, I bring a particular sensitivity to civic leadership, as well as ecumenical and interfaith relations. I would welcome the chance to lead the Diocese of New York in articulating, through word and action, the faith and practice of the Episcopal Church in the 21st century, and in doing so, respecting and valuing every person and tradition of faith.
A Sense of Place and Possibility
The Diocese of New York formed me for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. I came to New York City in my mid-twenties to study and wrestle with the question of vocation. I worshipped and volunteered at a variety of Manhattan parishes, and worked Friday nights for the cathedral’s Nightwatch Program, becoming acquainted with youth throughout the diocese and the region.
As a seminarian with the Bronx Youth Ministry, I spent three years working to build bridges with the churches of Manhattan and Westchester County. I preached in a variety of parishes and met with numerous outreach committees, vestries and rectors. As a sometimes Sunday driver for Bishop Moore, I visited smaller churches in the far reaches of the diocese.
As a priest for fifteen years in neighboring New Jersey, I came into Manhattan every week for spiritual direction; I met with a colleague group of NY/NJ rectors; and I spent many a day off exploring the towns and villages along the Hudson River and seeking respite in the beauty of rural New York.
Shortly before my ordination, Bishop Moore told me: “Just remember, all you have to do is love them.” That’s been the best advice I’ve ever received. I love the Diocese of New York—its cities, suburbs, towns and countryside. I am honored to be one of your nominees, and if elected, I would be thrilled to serve the church and the people of God with you.