By John Andrews

 To newly appointed Ordinary, Gerald Barnes, the fabric of his Diocese was vibrant and colorful—but it lacked a common thread.

 So when he assumed leadership of the Diocese in 1995, he said it was critical to continue the consultation process begun under his predecessor, Bishop Phillip Straling, that would lead to a shared statement of vision for this local Church.

 “It was like a scattering of a lot of things that did not sense yet a direction that they all had in common,” Bishop Barnes recalls. “Everybody was doing something good but we weren’t tied to each other.”

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By Amanda Alexander

 “Formation, for me, is the key.”

 As he recently reflected on his 25-year Episcopacy, Bishop Gerald Barnes noted that Diocesan lay formation programs that have been created and expanded are at the top of his list of gratifying moments. And it was perhaps divine providence that the foundation for a strong ministry of lay formation was already laid when he arrived here.

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