Up at 4am … on the road to Bloomington at 4:45 en route to a 6:50 air departure. Via Detroit, landed in Richmond, VA a litte before noon (eastern time) and traveled by shuttle bus to the Diocese of Virginia’s conference center, Roslyn. Joined here by the bishops of the “classes” of 2011 (mine)m 2012, and 2013 for the last (for me) of three week-long residency programs called Living Our Vows (aka “Baby Bishops’ School”). This afternoon and evening were pretty much devoted to “check in”–a process by which members of a group talk about what’s been going on in their lives, personally and professionally, since the group last met. We did this by class, and the Class of 2011 is both large (13) and loquacious. Of note here is the value of peers simply being with one another. As close as we are to those who share our lives and ministries on a daily basis, nobody “gets it” quite as much as another bishop. This is not to say that there isn’t some valuable content on these occasions, but merely to emphasize that what takes places informally between the formal sessions is just as important.