Bishop Poulson Joins the Order of the Ascension

Bishop Poulson Joins the Order of the Ascension

The Order of the Ascension is an Episcopal religious community in the Benedictine tradition open to lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops. Members live all over the country, but follow a common Rule of Life, meet regularly by Zoom, and gather in person on retreat once a year. The mission (or promise) of the Order is “to seek the presence of Jesus Christ in the people, things and circumstances of life through stability, obedience and conversion of life.” Taking a first promise means that I will explore permanent membership in the Order over the next three years or so as a novice. If the Order and I mutually decide this is a calling, I would take a second, lifelong promise at that point.

Written by Bishop Poulson 

"As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." (Colossians 3:12-14)

On June 17th, in the oratory chapel at our diocesan offices, I took what is called my first promise as a member of the Order of the Ascension, and was clothed, with Canon Eric’s help, in the Order’s cassock. 

The Order of the Ascension is an Episcopal religious community in the Benedictine tradition open to lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops. Members live all over the country, but follow a common Rule of Life, meet regularly by Zoom, and gather in person on retreat once a year. The mission (or promise) of the Order is “to seek the presence of Jesus Christ in the people, things and circumstances of life through stability, obedience and conversion of life.” Taking a first promise means that I will explore permanent membership in the Order over the next three years or so as a novice. If the Order and I mutually decide this is a calling, I would take a second, lifelong promise at that point.

Why, as a busy new bishop, would I take on this extra commitment? For several reasons. I’ve considered joining the Order for years. In addition to Benedictine spirituality, including praying the Daily Office, the Order focuses on congregational development. I’ve studied congregational development with members of the Order (especially the Reverend Robert Gallagher, one of its founders) at various points over almost 20 years. With our diocesan focus on congregational vitality, I thought that having a community (including several bishops) with whom to reflect on this work would be helpful for me and the Diocese of Oklahoma.

And second, over the past 18 months or so, I’ve been thinking and praying about where I might find community. When I left parish ministry to come to Oklahoma, I left not only the grounding of my church and school community in Phoenix, but also a small colleague group of rectors from around the country with whom I was connected, who were wonderful friends and supports for my ministry and life. In Oklahoma, I have the community of my loving family, the marvelous diocesan staff, and the lay people and clergy I am getting to know around our diocese. And I am making connections with various bishops from across the Episcopal Church. But what I found myself missing was a group of friends who were following the same pattern of prayer, study, and reflection, and supporting one another in being disciples of Jesus. There is a long history of monk bishops (though not many with a wife and children!), so this is not a unique overlapping of vows. Indeed, I think these callings are mutually supporting and beneficial. Bishops are particularly in need of the “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” that comes from the Holy Spirit, nurtured by discipline, in community.

I love being your Bishop. I am having so much fun, especially being with you all around our diocese. There is not a day that I don’t enjoy serving with you in God’s ministry in Oklahoma, and I’m energized by the congregational vitality work we are beginning here. I hope that my affiliation with the Order of the Ascension will help me be a more prayerful, effective, and loving bishop in our (God-willing) many years together. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Order of the Ascension, including our other members, the Rule we follow, its history, and the process of discernment for membership, all of that information can be found at www.orderoftheascension.org.

BACK



924 N. Robinson I Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 232-4820

dioceseofoklahoma@epiok.org
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm CST


NEWSLETTERCONTACT US



Diocesan Staff Email Login

Top