My longtime friend and colleague Kevin Kanouse was re-called to be the shepherd of the Northern Texas Northern Louisiana Mission Area on the first ecclesiastical ballot tonight at our Mission Assembly. I came in second. He had 190 votes. I had 9. I appreciate those nine people even if I wasn’t one of them. More importantly I appreciate the sacrifice my friend has made to wear the heavy yoke of bishop for the past twelve years and now for six more. There are rewards in that call, no doubt, but what you sacrifice to be bishop is the gift of the congregation which cannot be replicated or replaced. You can pastor a “synod” or as we have come to call it a “mission area” but the parish is the place where pastors experience congregational joys and sorrows bishops can only experience from the outside. Because they are called to be pastor to all the congregations of their territory they are in some ways pastor to none. That is not to say the call to set aside the personal relationship with a single parish for the sake of the “synod” is less or more, only that it removes one from the more intimate relationships of shepherd and sheep, pastor and parishioner. But their sacrifice is our gain as bishops connect us to each other and the wider church and call us to the mission that is more than whatever happens in our own backyard. So it is appropriate that on the week the lectionary celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday the Northern Texas Northern Louisiana Mission Area has reconfirmed the call of our small g Good Shepherd Kevin who has led us well these past twelve years and will continue to do so for the next six. So well done good and faithful servant and may God continue to re-call you to serve.