Letter from Bishop Neil Lebhar
[28 Aug 2018] As your bishop I need to share some very difficult news.
Father Eric Dudley has resigned as Dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral.
Here is the background of this painful action. During his sabbatical, independent complaints concerning Father Dudley were brought to me. In accordance with diocesan policy, there was an initial inquiry made by the appropriate diocesan personnel. In the process, Father Dudley admitted to inappropriate treatment of others, abuse of alcohol, and anger issues. The complaints included patterns of undesired physical displays of affection which were deeply damaging to others and contrary to diocesan harassment policy.
In response to the inquiry report and in consultation with me, Father Dudley resigned. He accepted responsibility for his admitted actions. He recognized his own and his family’s needs for longterm therapy and healing, and he understood that he was currently in no position to function as a priest.
In light of all this, I make these prayer requests: Please pray for complete healing for those wounded by Father Dudley’s actions.
Please encourage each other in the St. Peter’s family, and please refrain from speculation and gossip which can only add to the pain and damage from this situation.
Please pray for the staff, vestry and other leadership in the days ahead. According to canon, the senior warden, Budd Kneip, now has become the leader of the congregation in the absence of a rector. Bill Krizner has been chosen to serve as a special consultant.
Please pray for the Dudleys. Father Dudley’s wife Belinda and their children are fully supportive of him as they all face an uncertain future together. Please respect their privacy as they continue on the hard journey toward restoration which Christ desires for all of us. While Father Dudley will be worshiping elsewhere for the sake of everyone, his family hopes to remain a part of St. Peter’s, trusting in the grace of God and the love of the congregation.
Finally, be assured of my prayers for St. Peter’s Cathedral and all those concerned. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified by the way we love one another in the midst of this tragic storm. May the Lord have mercy on us all. In the love of Jesus who is Lord of the Church,
+Neil G. Lebhar
The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
Bishop, Gulf Atlantic Diocese