Reverendo Matthew Foster Heyd

The Rev Matthew Heyd
Letter to Diocese

We live in a Kairos moment— Dean Kelly Brown Douglas describes this time as a “moment of grace and opportunity, a time in which God issues a challenge to decisive action.”

I completely believe that’s true.

This moment is hard. Congregational leaders feel abandoned, lonely, and exhausted. The pandemic tumult of the last several years is joined to historic endemic racism and the increasing chaos of American civic life. The mechanics of doing church are more complicated for communities of all sizes. Healing is an aching need, in New York and globally.

This moment is defined by possibility. The key question isn’t how we handle decline. The question is how we handle change. The Holy Spirit is active right now— as active as 10 or 50 or 2,000 years ago. We can care for each other through difficult times. We can build new tools for changing needs. We can move from exhaustion to renewal.

I learned what renewal means from leaders in the Diocese of New York.

I grew up in North Carolina but I was raised up for ministry in the Diocese of New York. I’ve now spent my entire adult life working for the renewal of the Episcopal Church at the congregational, diocesan, and national levels.

My vocation has been possible because of the care and support from friends here in New York. My life and faith has been shaped by the community of the Church. I moved at age twenty-five from far away without friends or family nearby. Now it’s home. It’s where my children were baptized. It’s where I’ve served the church, both as lay leader and as priest. My daughter was confirmed in the Cathedral where I was ordained. We’ve lived through responses to 9/11 and the pandemic. Our whole family marched with Black Lives Matter after George Floyd’s murder.

A decade ago I was part of a bishop election back home in North Carolina. I’ve said “no” to every nomination since in both congregational and bishop’s searches.

But New York is home and I owe an enormous debt to the Church here. I believe deeply in our people and our possibilities. I know that we can thrive— if we change together.

The Diocese is our people and our communities, not principally the bishop and the bishop’s staff.

The bishop can serve as a champion of street-level ministries in congregations, chaplaincies, schools, and affiliated agencies and an organizer of our witness together to a world that deeply needs to hear a message of grace, hope, and love.

We have an incredible opportunity. I’m excited about our conversations for what’s possible in the Diocese of New York.

Grace and Peace,

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