Dear friends in Christ,
We who serve on the Standing Committee received word of Bishop Breidenthal’s retirement as bittersweet news. We are both grateful and hopeful but also aware that we will miss a gifted leader. Our most important hope in this moment is that Bishop Breidenthal makes a full and speedy recovery after his serious illness, so that he may enjoy the next chapter of his life in retirement. We are also grateful for his leadership in our diocese. And, it goes without saying, we will miss the many gifts that our bishop has offered in his ministry with us.
As you know, Bishop Breidenthal will resign as our bishop on November 29, 2020. Until then, our primary focus is on finding ways to express our gratitude for the ministry of Bishop Breidenthal and for Margaret, his wife. Look for more information about that in the coming weeks. We wish we could thank the Breidenthals in person at our upcoming Diocesan Convention, but we will find virtual ways to allow the entire diocese to express our thanks and our good wishes for the Breidenthals’ future.
After our bishop has resigned, the Standing Committee will assume the role of Ecclesiastical Authority for a time. Eventually, we will lay out the process of discernment, search, nomination, and election leading to our next bishop. It will take time to set up this process, and we want to take stock of our diocese before we commit to a particular path. It is too soon to give a timeline or any other details.
We want you to know that we are already working on how the transition will unfold. We have good support in Bishop Todd Ousley from the Presiding Bishop’s staff, and we have been working closely with members of our diocesan staff, especially the Rev. Canon John Johanssen. While it will take some time to put together the plan, we will provide updates over the coming months.
Bishop Breidenthal has served well. We are blessed with gifted lay leaders and clergy throughout our diocese. We know that diocesan staff will continue to do their good work. And the Standing Committee is joined in its work with many other leadership bodies within the diocese. Even in this time of pandemic, we can confidently look to the future. In all that we do, we treasure the steadfast presence of our Lord Jesus, who has promised to be with us always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Please pray for our Bishop, for our whole diocese, and for those of us serving on Standing Committee. You might like to use this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, “For a Diocese.”
O God, by your grace you have called us in this Diocese to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless our Bishop Thomas and other clergy, and all our people. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
You will hear more from us as the process unfolds. Please do not hesitate to contact members of the Standing Committee if you have questions or concerns. We are,
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Cook, President
Mr. Larry Hayes, Vice President
Dr. James Allsop
Ms. Cathy Bagot
The Rev. Philip DeVaul
The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn