The Rev. Matthew Hoxsie Mead
Dear Friends in Christ,
I have lived in the Diocese of New York for most of my life. My wife Nicole who grew up on Long Island and I were married in New York, and our teenage sons Liam and Nicholas were both born, baptized, and grew up in this diocese. Like my children, I grew up in rectories where my father served in Boston, suburban Philadelphia, and New York City. My first memories are of my mother holding me in a rocking chair singing Away in a Manger. I am a life-long Episcopalian who loves, trusts, and believes in Jesus Christ. Jesus is my rock and the foundation upon which my life, my family, and my calling to ordained ministry are built.
I was ordained in New York in 2004 and have served as priest and pastor in three very different congregations of the diocese in Times Square, Granite Springs, and Pelham. I also serve our diocese and the wider Church in a variety of roles. My work overseeing our diocesan budget and finances and leading part of our strategic plan has provided me with substantial understanding of our systems and resources and the many diverse congregations, campuses, ministries, and communities across New York.
My experience as a rector and a leader in our diocese over the past eighteen years, particularly through the pandemic, has prepared me for this discernment. The Diocese of New York needs and seeks a Bishop and Chief Pastor who thirsts for justice and has the courage to speak with a prophetic voice; who appreciates our diversity, resources, and challenges; who trusts, listens to, and collaborates with laypersons, deacons, and priests; who has a deep faith in Jesus Christ and a love of all God’s children; and who can adapt and lead our diocese through the uncharted territory ahead of us. I believe I am so called.
I am excited about our future, and I believe God has given me the experience, wisdom, and gifts to be the next Bishop of New York. Saying “Yes” to a new call, especially Bishop Diocesan, will change my life and the ministries that I love and do in service of the Diocese of New York. Thomas Merton’s prayer rings true: “I cannot know for certain where it will end…” but “I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road.”
I look forward to discerning with you, hearing your stories, and seeking God’s will together. You are in my prayers, and I ask that you keep me and my family in yours. May Jesus Christ bless and inspire us all. Amen.
The Rev. Matthew Hoxsie Mead,
Rector, Christ Church Pelham
My calling is to serve Jesus Christ and spread the Gospel. I am a faithful and engaging pastor, priest, preacher, and teacher. I have a track record nurturing ministries, developing leadership, overseeing complicated systems and strategic plans, and growing congregations.
Leadership in Parishes & Congregations
Rector, Parish of Christ the Redeemer, Pelham, New York (2015-Present)
Christ Church is a program size parish with 600 members, 175 average Sunday attendance, $650,000 operating budget, and dozens of vibrant lay-led ministries. Our congregation’s vitality and growth has resulted in a new pipe organ, restored slate roofs on our 178-year-old church, a livestreaming and recording system, energy-saving improvements, and accessibility upgrades. www.christchurchpelham.org
Rector, Church of the Good Shepherd, Granite Springs, New York (2009-2015)
Good Shepherd is a pastoral size parish – in 2015 it had 250 members, 100 average Sunday attendance, $200,000 operating budget, and $250,000 endowment. Between 2009 and 2015 attendance, membership, and pledging doubled allowing us expand our ministries and do extensive capital improvements. www.goodshepherdny.org
Curate, Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square, New York (2004-2009)
Saint Mary’s is a program/resource size congregation. Between 2004 and 2009 Saint Mary’s grew in membership, attendance, and pledging by about 50 percent. www.stmvirgin.org
Leadership in the Episcopal Church
Deputy, General Convention of the Episcopal Church (2022 and 2018; Alt. 2015)
Chair, Legislative Committee, Stewardship & Socially Responsible Investing (2021-2022)
I served as Chair of the Legislative Committee at General Convention 2022 that receives and proposes Resolutions on stewardship and socially responsible investing.
Secretary, Task Force for Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision (2018-2021)
I served as Secretary of Task Force overseeing Prayer Book Revision and as Chair of the Subcommittee for Communications which built, www.episcopalcommonprayer.org
Secretary, Legislative Committee, Prayer Book Revision & Marriage Rites (2018)
Scholarship Committee of the Episcopal Church (2015-2018)
Leadership in the Diocese of New York
Chair, Budget Committee (2013-Present) & Finance Committee (2017-Present)
The chair oversees and presents the $12,000,000 budget for the diocese. The Budget Committee includes chairs of the Committees of Council and the Trustees and senior members of the Bishop’s staff. The Budget Chair serves ex officio on the Finance Committee.
Commission on Ministry (2009-Present)
I have served successive three-year terms on our diocese’s COM. I also serve as one of the COM’s trainers for parish discernment committees.
Chair, Task Force on Financial Matters, Strategic Plan for the Diocese (2015-2016)
I was appointed by the Bishop of New York to oversee all financial matters for the diocesan Strategic Plan and to offer recommendations and a realistic plan to execute the recommendations. We rewrote the diocesan canons that govern funding, apportioned shares, adjustments, remedies, and finance/budget committee structure, and established a new system and funding for Congregations in Strategic Settings.
Trustees of the Diocese (2021-Present)
Council of the Diocese (2007-Present)
Real Estate Committee of the Trustees (2021-Present)
Dean, Westchester Sawmill Deanery (2012-2015)
Congregational Support Plan Committee (2007-2016)
Ecumenical Committee (2009-2014)
Committee to Elect a Bishop (2010-2011)
Hispanic Grants Committee (2008-2010)
Leadership in the Community
Community Sponsor for Hearts & Homes for Refugees (2016-Present)
Since 2016 Christ Church has worked with Hearts & Homes for Refugees to help resettle refugees in Westchester County. Christ Church was the sole sponsor for resettling a refugee in 2019-2020, and we have worked as part of larger teams to resettle other refugees.
Co-Chair, Pelham Interfaith Council (2020-Present)
Education & Biographical Information
Yale University: Divinity School (M Div 2004)
Magna Cum Laude; Recipient of “The Jess H. and Hugo A. Norenberg Prize”, awarded each year to a student who excels in preaching and/or the conduct of corporate worship.
University of Chicago (BA Philosophy 1998)
Biographical & Ordination
Married to Nicole DeCoursy Mead with two teenage children, Liam & Nicholas. Ordained Deacon, March 13, 2004, by the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, XV Bishop of New York.
Ordained Priest, September 18, 2004, by the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, XV Bishop of New York.
- Describe your relationship with Christ and how it shapes your
I’m a Preacher’s Kid (PK). I’ve been immersed in Christianity and the Church my entire life, and so I learned about Jesus and the Bible, about the Sacraments, prayer, and worship, and about the strengths and limitations of the Church. I’ve grown to understand that knowledge is not the same as faith. At some point I made the decision to follow Jesus because I know that when I have been full of fear, pride, sorrow, selfishness, despair, doubt, or indifference, Jesus has still been present with me calling me out of darkness and toward his light. My relationship with Christ has proven unbreakable because even when I am not there, Jesus is.
I didn’t realize how important Jesus had become in my life until I chose Disney World over Holy Week – spring break often falls during Holy Week, and so PKs aren’t able to leave town like many other kids can, so I leapt at the opportunity when it came up as an adult. On Good Friday I felt my intentional absence from Church so deeply that I realized I was called to give my life in service of Jesus Christ, and I started discernment for the priesthood immediately. People laugh at me when I tell them this story: “Jesus called you o’er the tumult of Space Mountain.” Fair enough, but I think it says something about my calling that not even the Magic Kingdom could provide a happy place free from the disturbance of the Holy Spirit when I had literally taken a vacation from Christ.
My priestly and pastoral ministry, indeed my life, is meaningless without my relationship with Jesus Christ, and yet there have been more times than I care to admit that I get lost in the churchy work of finishing projects and trying to fix systems and people. Thanks be to God, being part of the Body of Christ also means being reminded by the faithful that the Body of Christ was broken and buried, yet still rose again from the dead.
- What is it about our profile that gets you excited and how do you think your skills and experiences are well-suited to serve the Diocese of New York as Bishop Diocesan?
The Diocese of New York is wonderfully diverse, large, and complicated: 182 congregations ranging from large to small, from the wealthiest in the world to among the poorest in the nation, worshipping in numerous languages, and located in dense urban areas, in suburbs, in rural areas, and everywhere in between. It is a perfect example of a Spiritual Temple made of living stones founded on Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. No stone is identical to any other, yet all are essential to the whole. The profile is an excellent summary of the realities, blessings, and challenges shared by the congregations of the Diocese of New York. The profile makes it clear that the Diocese of New York is seeking an experienced, competent, and loving Chief Pastor as its next Bishop who will love every one of the congregations and the laity and clergy who serve them as Jesus loves each of us.
I have served as a priest in a variety of contexts and congregations: as one of several priests on staff in a large, urban congregation; as the rector and sole full-time staff member in a small, rural congregation; and as rector managing assisting clergy and my own staff in a medium-large, suburban congregation. I also take a very active role in the wider church: I serve or have served as chair of or a member of my diocese’s budget, finance, and real estate committees, on Council and Trustees, on the Commission on Ministry, as a regional dean, as Deputy to General Convention, on committees and task forces of the Episcopal Church, and I oversaw the financial portion of my diocese’s strategic plan.
Every congregation and every Church commission and committee relies on mutual ministry and pastoral collaboration between laity, clergy, volunteers, and staff who work together to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Managerial skills, experience, and vision are very important, especially in larger and more complicated systems, but the Church requires and needs pastors who listen, learn, and lead.
I believe that my skills and experience leading, loving, serving, and pastoring in a variety of congregations and ministerial settings on the diocesan and church-wide levels match up very well with the skills and experience that the next Bishop and Chief Pastor of the Diocese of New York will need.
- What new and hopeful perspectives and ideas can you bring to the conversation about church decline that support and encourage long-term solutions?
The Church is not a building, a corporation, or a parochial report. The Church is people of faith, hope, and love, and we do not face any challenges alone, we share them together with and in Jesus Christ.
Three of my favorite images in all of Scripture are of the Church: the Body of Christ, the Vine and Branches, and the Spiritual Temple made of living stones founded on Christ the chief cornerstone. I love these images because they illustrate so clearly that our identity is rooted in our shared unity in Christ. When we focus on Jesus Christ and the love of God in Christ that unites us, the Church thrives. The challenges of today can and will be addressed through collaboration, pastoral care, community building, and working together. Our polity of mutual, shared ministry is one of our greatest blessings. The bishop is called to know, love, encourage, inspire, and unite the clergy and laity of the diocese so that we can build up the church together.
The Diocese of New York has several great examples of “long-term solutions” for addressing church decline. The Indaba program that the diocese embarked on several years ago brought people from different congregations and communities together to identify challenges, share ideas, and work together, and I think that it – or something like it – should be revisited regularly. The 2015/2016 Strategic Plan was similarly the product of wide collaboration which provided recommendations that can still be acted on and lived into. With the roll-out of Episcopal Futures, there are numerous congregations discussing and living into new types of shared ministry and collaboration. The common thread connecting these solutions is that they are manifestations of the true nature of the Church as the Body of Christ.
I am convinced that our greatest resource is the people who love Jesus Christ and who give themselves in service of the Gospel and the Church because of their faith in Christ. The next Bishop of New York needs to love, love listening to, love collaborating with, love encouraging, and love working alongside the amazing priests, deacons, and laity of the Diocese of New York. The future of the Diocese of New York is bright because with God in Christ nothing is impossible.
- Given the impact of COVID on the life of our ministry, we are curious about how you will pastor our congregations, both clergy and laity.
My congregation was hit hard and early by the pandemic: dozens of our members contracted Covid-19 in March-June 2020 and several parishioners died. I am proud of the pastoral care that we offered in those first months and the continued care we have given since, and I am grateful that our parish had the staff, volunteers, and resources to renovate our spaces and install equipment to livestream services and events. I believe that we have done our best to tackle the ever-changing and ongoing realities of the pandemic.
The pandemic continues to take a real mental, spiritual, financial, and attendance toll on many laity, clergy, congregations, and communities. It is essential that the next Bishop of New York appreciates that toll and is able to admit that everything and everybody is not ok. It is also crucial that the next Bishop of New York understands that the people and congregations across the Diocese did not have a singular experience of the pandemic but rather experiences that ranged across a large spectrum which often seemed to correlate the pain of the pandemic with how financially secure or not secure you were.
Many congregations that were viable, find themselves two years later in worse shape through no fault of their own. Hearing “success stories” from well-resourced parishes doesn’t exactly help when your story is that you don’t have enough money or staff to begin with, let alone “navigate” a pandemic. I appreciate that many of our congregations, clergy, and laity continue to struggle more than two years into Covid, and I believe one of the blessings of our polity is that our Bishop is able to direct the resources and staff of the diocese to address critical pastoral needs.
As Chief Pastor of the diocese, I would need to hear and heed all the stories of how our clergy and congregations experienced the pandemic, and learn what went wrong, what went right, and what still needs to be done. I believe that those conversations must lead to a larger conversation about how we support each other spiritually and pastorally, how we share resources with each other, and how the diocese can most effectively support congregations. May God help us to reform where we were amiss, strengthen where we were right, provide where there is want, and unite where we were divided; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
- Social justice is near and dear to the heart of the Diocese of New How has social justice been a part of your ministry? Please give examples.
I take my Baptismal Covenant promises to “seek and serve Christ in all persons” and “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being” seriously. I believe that Christian social justice requires that the Church and its leaders speak out for the intrinsic value, meet the basic needs, and encourage the full participation of every person in the Church and in society, and the Bishop of New York has the bully pulpit and responsibility to do that.
The topics of my sermons and pastoral letters, which can be viewed or read on my parish website, have addressed social justice in many forms, including: racism; police brutality; treatment of immigrants, migrants, and refugees; sexual abuse and harassment; and equal access to ordination and marriage. I am called by God and the Church to advocate publicly for those who are oppressed, never keep silent about evil and injustice, and always transition from words to an opportunity for active social justice. I’ve preached about welcoming and helping refugees, and my parish is actively involved in refugee resettlement. I’ve preached against racism, and my congregation has documented and is in the process of publishing the links that our founding family had to the slave trade.
I think it is important to note that small steps matter even if the change we strive for is not reached as quickly as we would wish. In 2019 news broke that same sex spouses of Bishops were not invited to Lambeth Conference while every other Bishop’s spouse was not only invited but would be provided with significant programs for spouses. I wrote and presented a resolution, passed by diocesan convention, asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to reconsider this decision which caused great pain, not only to the bishops it directly affects but across the entire Church. I note with disappointment that, even though Lambeth has been delayed two times due to the pandemic, the policy remained unchanged for the conference in the summer of 2022. The pain and injustice remain, and so I will continue to advocate for justice and equality.
I know that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Whether it is through a sermon, letter, resolution, or march, I believe that when we seek and strive for justice, every step we take matters and every sermon, letter, resolution, or march plants a seed which will bear fruit.
- A significant part of episcopal ministry is overseeing administration, property, and financial Give some examples of when you have done this kind of work and what you have learned from the work you’ve done.
My CV details the extensive experience I have overseeing administration, property, and financial development in diverse congregations and for one of the largest dioceses in the Church.
One experience that I am confident can be applied to New York is the oversight I had of the strategic plan of my diocese. I was appointed as chair of the strategic plan task force on finances of the diocese because I had served (and still do serve) on various committees and commissions that oversee the allocation and management of financial, human, and real property resources across the diocese, including budget, finance, real estate, council, trustees, and congregational support.
The many congregations in the diocese range from very large to very small, from those that are resourced with abundant endowments, property, staff, and/or volunteers, to those with minimal such resources but strategically located and integral to the mission of the diocese. The challenge we faced going into our strategic plan was how to share our resources and collaborate for the common good of the diocese without undermining the mission we were already doing locally. To be clear, the challenge is universal. On the one hand the shared resources of the very large and wealthy congregations enable the diocese to provide campus ministry, property and mission grants, programs, and clergy coverage in communities that cannot afford the expense of a priest. At the other end of the spectrum, many of the smaller congregations provide the diocese with diversity of cultures, languages, commnity insights, local ministries, and essential mission.
The strategic plan brought together stakeholders across the diocese, led to a series of canonical reforms, and provided a roadmap for shared mission across the diocese. Though progress has been made, there is still work to be done breaking down long-standing siloes and living into mutual collaborative mission.
I learned that in the polity of the Episcopal Church the Bishop Diocesan has immense power to articulate a vision, bring people together, and address all sorts of “low hanging fruit” inside the Bishop’s Office and in support of congregations. I also learned that effecting true systemic and strategic change requires follow-through, continued buy-in by stakeholders, true collaboration and teamwork, ongoing listening and conversation, and strong executive leadership, even – and perhaps especially – after the strategic plan has been adopted.
Interview of the Candidate by Veronica Dagher
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