Tribute to a friend, a brother, a bishop

David AyresBaustelle BerlinLeave a Comment

I am still in denial that Bishop Grote is no longer with us. I guess I met him when I was 16, attending what I believe was my second diocesan council with my dad. It was the year he was elected assistant bishop of the diocese. For many years, I saw Bishop Grote presiding over diocesan and general council meetings in the U.S., but I only truly got to know him after moving to Germany and interacting with him at our annual synod meetings. In that short time frame of five years or so, I found a genuine bishop, confidante and friend.
The insight and wisdom Bishop Grote brought each year in his teaching and preaching, but also in conversations at meal times and private sessions were the highlight of our meetings. His willingness to provide individual counsel and encouragement both in person and via Skype was a precious gift I am afraid I took for granted.
He was unassuming and unaffected, and his down-to-earth personality and genuine friendliness were an example to all of us of what spiritual leadership should look like. He consistently called us gently but firmly to focus on the heart of what we are supposed to be doing as clergy, which is to build the Church through leading people to Jesus. He reminded us that we are meant to find the Bride of Christ and take care of her so that we might one day present her to the Bridegroom. He spoke to us as a bishop, but more than that, he spoke to us as a brother.
I am deeply saddened that we have lost our brother. Indeed, I do not understand why God chooses to remove such men from us, when it seems we need them more than ever. But I pray the wisdom and love he imparted to us might not be lost, and that we might be granted grace to follow his good example, so that with him, we might be partakers in the heavenly kingdom. May he find eternal joy and peace in the presence of the Lord.

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