The Rev. Canon Patrick A. Collins

Bio

The Rev. Canon Patrick A. Collins was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in 2006 after graduating from the General Theological Seminary.

He served the first 10 years of his ministry in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, first in a curacy at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Harrisburg, then in three small congregations as either rector or long-term supply priest.

While in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, he served for many summers as the director of the Episcopal camping program in partnership with Camp Mount Luther. He also served in that diocesan office as the Children and Youth Ministry Coordinator and as the Diocesan Transition Minister.

In 2016, he accepted a call to serve a split ministry as the Vicar of All Faith Chapel in Tunis Mills, Maryland, and as the Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Easton.

Patrick’s hobbies include stained glass, martial arts and barbershop choir singing.

Letter

March 6, 2021

Bishop Coadjutor Search and Nominating Committee
1608 Virginia St., E.
Charleston, WV 253111

Dear Search and Nominating Committee,
I'm excited to be sending you this cover letter as a part of my application to be the Bishop Coadjutor of your diocese.

The decision to put my name forward in your diocese has come after several years of intentional discernment. In the fall of 2015, I attended a week-long conference leading towards certification as an interim minister. While at the conference I found myself helping one of my fellow conference attendees from another diocese apply for a position in the Convocation of Europe. I was able to be of assistance to my friend and to the wider Church when I widened my perspective .

One of the reasons I accepted my current call was that it gave me additional time for discernment. I have been wrestling with whether I can better serve God and the Church at a parish level or at a diocesan level. A former special education supervisor once taught me that administrative work is actually about supporting those who are on the front line. It isn't a better kind of service, but it is a different kind of service. For the past five years, I have lived into her teaching by striving to provide good support for the clergy and congregations in this diocese.

I believe that I am ready to take the next steps on my path as a minister of God. I have learned a great deal from the laity, deacons, priests and bishops with whom I have shared ministry and I now feel that I'm ready to offer a vision for a diocese. I see us living in a time of great change, and assumptions that once held true for our lifetime are no longer working. I'd like to develop new models of what it means to the followers of Jesus Christ in communities with your diocese.

I humbly offer you my materials in the hopes that we might have further conversations around the topic of becoming your next bishop.

Peace,
The Rev. Cn. Patrick A. Collins

Resume


Professional Experiences
Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Easton, Easton, MD,

February 2016 - Present
Providing staff and administrative support for many diocesan committees. Created a task force to update SafeGuarding policies and to teach new standards to the diocese. Worked with local university to have students assist with diocesan database selection and implementation. Responsible for assisting congregations through the discernment/search process. Serving as Title IV Intake Officer and Instructor in School for Deacons. Planned and took leadership of diocesan 150th Anniversary Celebration, especially the closing Eucharist.

Transition Ministry Officer, Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA,
January 2014 - January 2016
Responsible for assisting congregations through the discernment/search process. This was achieved by reviewing and rewriting the diocesan protocol for transitions, and by teaching lay leaders in congregations about their roles and responsibilities in the search process. Also responsible for assisting clergy as they engaged in the search process while looking for new ministry situations. As a part of this work, I co-created and co-taught a course specifically for clergy on working through the Office of Transition Ministry paperwork and interviewing process.

Missioner for Children and Youth, Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA,
January 2012 - May 2015
Part of a team that instituted SafeGuarding God's Children and SafeGuarding God's People training protocols in the diocese; this work included re-writing the diocesan policy, training a cadre of certified trainers for the entire diocese and assisting with the training of all diocesan clergy. Responsible for the youth program, including a summer camp event with a mission trip component, done in partnership with a local Lutheran camp, Episcopal Relief and Development and individuals from the Diocese of New Jersey.

Rector, St. John's Episcopal Church, Huntingdon, PA,
June 2009 - December 2012
Responsible for presiding over two Sunday Eucharist celebrations and a mid-week Eucharist with healing each week. Provided pastoral care for all members of the congregation and provided administrative and pastoral support for all ministries of the congregation. Sponsored and supported two candidates to diaconal ordination. Mentored one parish intern seeking diaconal ordination. Invited local college professor who taught adult classes on Biblical topics. Collaborated with local clergy of different denominations for Lenten services and Bible studies. Worked with parish leaders to create a garden to grow altar flowers for Sunday services.

Curate, St. Stephen' s Episcopal Cathedral, Harrisburg, PA,
June 2006 - May 2009
Served with the Dean on a rotating schedule to preside, preach and celebrate at Rite One and Rite Two Sunday morning Eucharists, two weekday Eucharists and assisted at weekly chapel services at St. Stephen' s Episcopal School. Provided pastoral care and support for the congregation as well as served on a number of parish committees and commissions. Created, updated and presided
at liturgies including U2charists (Eucharistic celebrations in contemporary language featuring the music of U2) and Choral Evensongs. Enhanced and expanded the ministries of Lay Eucharistic Ministers and Worship Leaders.

Children and Youth Ministries Coordinator, St. John's Episcopal Church, Lancaster, PA,
July 2002 - July 2003
Responsible for administrative supervision of Christian Education (Sunday School and youth
curriculums, teacher and mentor recruitment and coordination of programs). Established an after
school neighborhood ministry program for local elementary school students.

Special Education Teacher & Substitute, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, East Petersburg, PA,
January 1990 - August 2003
Responsibilities included designing and implementing educational services and behavior management plans for students with physical and emotional handicaps. These duties included coordinating with parents, school district and intermediate unit personnel as well as individuals from outside agencies in order to plan students' transitions from school to adult life. Started a mini-business via a grant in the classroom. Supervised multiple teaching assistants and student volunteers.


Diocesan Ministry Experiences
Interim Chair, Youth Commission (CPA),
2009 - 2010
Responsible for designing, organizing and administering youth events while a task-force was commissioned to evaluate the program and to determine a direction forward. The primary task during this time was to maintain the program and to provide leadership, stability and pastoral care for the youth of the diocese during a time of transition. During the summer 2010 conference, taught the youth as they made two 4-foot stained glass mosaics, which now hang in St. Stephen 's Cathedral, Harrisburg.

Chair, Youth Commission/Committee (CPA),
2011 - 2015
Responsible for three high school age events each year including a week-long camp and two weekend events for all of the youth. Using the Happening program, led several other smaller weekend gatherings to nurture youth and grow their leadership gifts. Helped to design and implement a middle-school age youth retreat during Lent.

Standing Committee (CPA),
2010 - 2013

Convenor, Altoona Convocation (CPA),
2010 - December 2012
Organized and gathered clergy together for monthly meetings. Re-instated monthly gatherings, changing the focus from Bible Study and 'business' to community building by meeting in the evenings at restaurants, allowing vocational deacons and bi-vocational priests to participate. Led convocation in successfully hosting the 2012 diocesan convention in a new location, with a new format.

Council of Trustees (CPA),
2010 - December 2012

Liturgics Instructor, School of Christian Studies (CPA),
2009 - 2015
Taught course to diaconal candidates on fundamentals of liturgy. Redesigned the course, at the request of the dean, to focus on Morning Prayer and liturgical functions for deacons and laity. Additional revisions to this course included blended sessions with church musicians.

Chair, Children's Commission/Committee (CPA),
2007 -2012

Safe Guarding God's Children Trainer (CPA),
2007 - 2015

Eucharistic Visitor Trainer (CPA),
2007 - 2015

Children's Camp Director (CPA),
Summers 2006 - 2015
Took place during BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) week at Camp Mount Luther, a camp owned by the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Responsible for selecting and training members of the diocesan youth program to serve as Episcopal interns on staff. Responsible for integrating the Episcopal staff members into a smooth operation with the Lutheran camp staff. Coordinated efforts with and between others on the Diocesan Children 's Commission and Lutheran Camp. Designed and implemented additions to the camp curriculum to help enhance the experience for all campers.

Partners in Mission Commission (CPA),
2006 - 2015

Liturgy and Music Commission (CPA), 2
2006 - 2015


Education
Providence Theological School
D. Min. - Honorary, 2018
Working towards Th. D. - looking at the intersection of Christianity and the martial arts.

General Theological Seminary
M. Div. - Theological Studies, 2006

Pennsylvania State University
Worked towards M.Ed. degrees in Teaching and Curriculum and in Special Education, 1991 - 1999. These degrees not completed because of my call to ordained ministry.

Ferrum College
A.A. - General Education , 1985
B.S. - Educational Theatre, 1988


Related Experiences
Board Member, Treasurer and President, Beacon Clinic, Harrisburg, PA
2014 - 2015
This clinic offers medical assistance to the uninsured and underinsured residents in the northern part of Harrisburg. I served on the board while they were opening, and I resigned from the board when I accepted the call to the Diocese of Easton.

Board Member, Camp Mount Luther, Mifflinburg, PA
2012 - 2015

Seminary Internship, St. Phillip's Academy, Newark, NJ,
January 2006 - May 2006
Learned about the founding and early growth of this Episcopal School. Concluding paper explored how a board of directors can help to shape the tone and daily life of the school community.

Chief Chimer, General Theological Seminary, New York, NY,
February 2005 - January 2006
Responsible for scheduling, training and oversight of approximately 15 people in the Guild of Chimers.

Seminary Internship, Santo Andre, Periera Barreto, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Summer 2005
Lived in a different culture in order to explore how the Anglican Episcopal Church in Brazil ministers in a way that is uniquely different from the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Essays

1. Tell us the story of your spiritual journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and how and why is the Holy Spirit calling you to lead us?
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. as a Roman Catholic. One of my deepest observations as a child and young teenager was going to mass on a Sunday morning, hearing a message of love and forgiveness only to go out to the parking lot and see people yelling at one another. Another memory from that time was my Confirmation. We had been told by the nuns that if the bishop called on us and we didn't answer correctly, we may not get confirmed. I have no memory of the sermon because I spent the entire time praying that the bishop wouldn't call on me and trying to duck down and hide so that the bishop couldn't see me. There was a disconnect between what I heard in the pulpit and what I experienced in the living of that tradition.

I drifted away from the Roman Catholic Church while attending a Methodist supported college. For the first time in my life, I was exposed to professed Christians who weren't Catholics. The experience made me question many of my assumptions. Following college, I fell in love with a woman from the Mennonite tradition. She taught me the value and beauty of joyfully living my life through
my values rather than in fear of eternal punishment.

It was my wife who prompted my journey towards ordained ministry. We were newly confirmed/received Episcopalians when our rector called for volunteers to go to camp during the summer. I felt her elbow in my ribs, followed by the look in her eyes suggesting "you would be really good at that". That elbow in the ribs led to years of children's camps, youth camps, and retreats; it also led to seminary and a life that neither of us expected or imagined.

I have spent the majority of my ministry supporting small congregations. I believe that becoming the bishop of a diocese primarily comprised of small congregations will fit my experiences and gifts. In small congregations, I see the kind of relationships that I believe mirror the kind of relationships that helped the early Church grow. The members of the early Church knew each other; they supported
each other in prayer, financially and throughout life. Large congregations offer a wonderful richness of liturgy and resources but, it is possible to be lost or forgotten in a large congregation. There is a simple and powerful beauty in small congregations where if you miss two Sundays in a row, someone is calling to check on you.

It is my belief that our small congregations are the future of the Church. But the model of one full-time priest at every altar on every Sunday is no longer sustainable in our world today. I don ' t have all of the answers, but I would treasure the opportunity to work on concerns like this with a diocese. It is my belief that the wisdom is already in the room; we just have to have the courage to listen to it.

2. What does Servant Leadership look like, particularly for a bishop?
Servant Leadership for a bishop is a way of providing an over-arching vision that others can enlarge upon with their own ideas, gifts and energies. While, at the same time, servant leadership also provides those individuals with the support and mentoring that they need in order to grow into their own calling. In the Gospel stories, we see Jesus doing this time and again with his disciples . He taught them about the Kingdom, he did acts of power or miracles to show the strength of this vision and then he sent them off to grow their own faith and power.

This is the heart of our faith: God came to us all so that we can all be closer to God. God didn't come for one group of people or another - that was the vision of the Pharisees. Instead, God came for everyone and was willing to die in order to be an example of the importance of God's vision. We as followers of Jesus are expected to do the same. We are asked to live our lives as an example to those around us. We give of ourselves and of our gifts every day.

This is especially true for a bishop. One of the primary ways that a bishop is a servant is by supporting the other servants. One of the primary ways that a bishop is a leader is by providing the example of love for the clergy and lay leaders. These leaders then share that example with others, who then in turn share that example of love with the world. We often think of the Church as a hierarchical structure. But, like so many other things, being a follower of Jesus turns that model upside down. The bishop is actually at the bottom of the pyramid rather than the top.

One of the ways that I see this playing out is through Episcopal visitations. The bishop spends a significant portion of his/her ministry driving around a diocese to be present with each congregation on a regular basis. This is a significant investment in terms of both financial expenses and time. However, by usually being the only person who knows a diocese by having worshipped with every
congregation, a bishop is gifted with insights and a unique understanding of the diocese. The hope is that a bishop can share some of those insights with others in order to lead the diocese in a direction towards health and grace.

Ultimately, servant leadership is about modeling one's life and ministry upon the life and ministry of Jesus. The ministry of Jesus is about serving rather than being served. So, the ministry of a bishop is about serving others so that they can go and serve the world.

3. We know and understand the Spirit is always working with us, moving us more closely to unity with God and with each other. What can the bishop do to assist with this process and to build community in both individual parishes and within the diocese?
I believe that having a Ministry of Presence is an important key to being a bishop - being able to be fully present with people. This doesn't mean being in full agreement, it doesn't mean liking everyone {but you do have to love them), and it certainly doesn't mean solving everyone's problems. For me, this means that I am striving to have people know that when I'm with them, I see them, I hear
them and I am attempting to understand them.

One of the ways in which I could imagine building community at a congregational level is with parish visitations. In the congregation where I was a lay-person, we were blessed with a bishop who turned his annual visitation into a weekend event. We had a custom of the bishop being present at an event with either the youth and/or the Vestry. I still remember that bishop playing laser tag on a
Saturday afternoon with my youth group, and then sitting down at dinner with those same youth, conversing about their faith. The next year, he had a dinner with the Vestry and the youth cooked and served the meal. That bishop treated those visitations as if they were a gift to himself rather than an obligation needing to be f ulfilled. I would like the opportunity to pass that example along to another generation.

With internet technologies, it is easier to be present than ever. I would like to take one week per month a dedicate it to being in one Deanery, rather than the diocesan office. This would mean finding a congregation in each Deanery that would allow their bishop to use a vacant room or a parish hall as a temporary office. With a base in each Deanery, and some creative scheduling, it would be much easier to be visible and present in that part of the diocese.

In order to do this, my vision is to use technology to maintain already existing relationships, which would allow me to focus time and energy for in-person meetings and gatherings with the intention of developing, deepening and growing relationships. When traveling, weekly staff meetings could be handled via electronic means. And in order to maintain equity, all staff members would attend the meeting virtually, even if they are in the same building. This same idea could also be applied to occasional meetings, after I've been in office for a year or so.

I have a history of attending diocesan camp at least one week during the summer. In a former diocese, I was also involved in the Happenings and Vocare programs. I believe that being present for these kinds of programs is an important priority. I understand these events to be key moments in the formation of our young people. These events build short-term communities and deep and potentially life altering friendships. I wouldn' t be able to attend every event but, being able to be fully present at some events would be a priority in my ministry.

4. What do you think the role of our church should be in our times?
I think that the Church needs to be the place where the most challenging questions and issues can be resolved with the simplest of answers: "God loves the other just as much as God loves you" . However, this 'simple' answer is anything but easy to live into.

Being a follower of Jesus is the most difficult things that one can do with your life. An important role of the Church is to be a place where other followers of Jesus can come together in community, be challenged and comforted by the Word of God, love one another unconditionally and practice taking that love out into the world with one another. We are at our best when we see ourselves as being
servants of the world in God's Name rather than being served by the Church .

In our divided political times, I see the Church as needing to have a different voice to add to the conversation . Our voice shouldn't be loud. It just needs to be consistent and loving as it asks the question: "What about the poor and the needy?" Our history teaches us that when confronted by Roman Authorities, who were looking for wealth, St. Lawrence brought forth and presented the poor
stating that "These are the treasures of the Church". I believe that this needs to be the role of the Church - investing in the debates of our day, not from a liberal or conservative perspective but rather from a Gospel understanding of how to look at our problems and opportunities.

The other role that I see for the Church is that of servant. We serve the needs of the poor because it is the God thing to do. This role of action is the complement to the prophetic voice. The Church is the place where the needs of the world can be seen, identified and then addressed. While it isn't possible for every person, congregation or diocese to do everything, the call of God invites us to do something based upon the gifts that we have been given.

I believe that in these troubled times, the role of the Church is to be the voice of the conscience for our people. We are finding ourselves trapped into a linear and binary way of thinking. But the call of God challenges us to look at the world in new ways and to see possibilities where others may see failures. With the Resurrection, Jesus' disciples learned to see the Crucifixion, an unjust act of political violence, as an act of loving redemption for the entire world.

I believe that the ultimate role of the Church is to be the people who answerGod's radical call to love the entire world as if everyone else is one of our beloved siblings.

5. Tell us about your relationship with God and your personal spiritual life. What in your own spiritual practice feeds your life
with God and Christ's Church?

The divine part of the Trinity that I most relate to is that of the Creator. I work with stained glass as a hobby. I see this work being similar to my understanding of the first creation story in Genesis. In that story, God doesn't create ex-nihilo. Instead, God takes the things already in the environment, the great and deep waters, and provides structure. I don' t have the same amount of creativity that
God has displayed, but I see the similarities in working with glass, copper, solder and other materials to make something of beauty. The initial stages of the process for me are always the most excit ing. Taking an existing pattern, or creating a new pattern, orienting the directions for the grainlines in the glass, choosing colors, purchasing glass, deciding about the width of the foil: these are decisions that most people do not notice but, they make a tremendous difference in appearance of the final project. By working with glass, I have come to have a deeper appreciation for the depth of details and beauty that are often overlooked in our daily lives.

Another discipline that I have developed during my current call has been to stop and enjoy the geese as they fly overhead. Never before in my life have I had the opportunity to witness geese in flight. The beauty of these birds flying in their V formations is something to simply enjoy. It is a simple thing that has been a constant reminder to not get so caught up in the daily challenges and tasks of ministry that I don't stop and stand in awe of the beauty of God's creation .

Another way that I tend to myself and reach out to God at the same time is by saving hand-written notes. While I can' t speak for others, I have found that there are days in my life and ministry when things simply go 'sideways': my best efforts never seem to be enough, I hit dead ends, I make mistakes, or I simply can't seem to make something work out. In those moments, I reach for my collection of saved notes and I review them. In reading these notes, I am reminded of moments when others found my ministry to be important or valuable. It is then that I am confronted with the reminder, that while I'm the one being thanked, it was God, not me who did the work. I was simply present and served as the conduit for God's grace. Those notes remind me that whatever the burden, it is
not mine alone, I am a willing partner and servant of God.