Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE sent on Aug. 25 the following message to clergy and parish and diocesan leadership:
My Sisters and Brothers,
As my date of retirement nears, I want to be in touch with all of you and to thank you for your continued expressions of care and concern. We have known since the beginning, when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in May of last year, that we are dealing with a difficult kind of cancer. We have been hopeful in the therapies we’ve pursued over these months, but we now know that for me there is no cure. At the recommendation of my medical team, I’ve decided now to pursue a course of treatment that will provide a good quality of life, though for how long, we can’t be sure.
As hard as this is to hear and to tell, I didn’t want this time to go by without letting all of you know where things are. My medical team continues to provide me with excellent care, and I have a wonderful community of support around me. My prayer feels different from day to day. Some days there is an expansiveness to it, and on other days, it isn’t so easy, though there aren’t too many of those days. But throughout, good days and more difficult days, I feel supported by you, the people of this diocese and beyond, and by your prayers, and I’ve felt my faith life grow in significant ways. I am looking forward to what God will bring in this new time.
You know, time too often in our culture is perceived as a problem; all of us, at some point, feel we don’t have enough of it. Yet, because of Jesus the Messiah, all time is now God’s time. It is part of the unfolding of God’s glory. We are invited into it as an experience of the presence of God. I believe that is where our prayer, where our life together in gathered community, where our participation with God in making all things new is taking us: into the heart of God.
May each of us be opened to the possibility and the hope offered through God’s gift of time.
Our bishop-elect, Alan, will keep you informed of changes in my condition going forward. I continue to cherish your cards and letters, and I want to say again how much I appreciate the years I’ve served as your bishop and all that you have taught me. I plan to be part of the upcoming consecration, and I look forward to joining you in welcoming our new bishop.
Please pray for me as I pray for you.
M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE