The four Pastoral Centers of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston were conceived of, planned, and constructed by Bishop Joseph Hodges. His vision was that these centers be extensions of the bishop; his vision, his teaching, his ministry. The recent Synod held in the Diocese affirms Bishop Hodges’ vision and purpose for the centers, and directly addresses the centers as part of the life of the Church in West Virginia.
“First, and most important in accord with our recommendation from the Synod document, Justice in the World, we would like to commend where they exist and recommend where they do not, centers of reflection and prayer, in the service of action, throughout the region. Such centers would integrate the analytical social science skills and the profound spirituality necessary the preserving creativity in the struggle for justice.”
This Pastoral Letter, in its closing paragraph, expresses a vision for church that is viewed descriptive of the Pastoral Centers:
- a center of the spirit
- a place where poetry dares to speak
- where the song reigns unchallenged
- where art flourishes
- where nature is welcome
- where little people and little needs come first
- where justice speaks loudly
- where, in a wilderness of idolatrous destruction, the great voice of God still cries out for life.
The Pastoral Centers are to be places for gathering and meeting, for coming together and experiencing church. They are to be centers of education, formation, spiritual growth, communal and human development. In them, the mission of the Church is to be furthered, the Gospel proclaimed and witnessed to and the Lord of Faith is to be experienced as: