June 27, 2023
Dear People of God,
Summer is upon us, and with the hot weather also comes mission trips, vacation Bible school, summer schedules, and planning for the fall. Mission and ministry in our diocese continue.
We are writing to you today with an update about how our diocese is moving forward in these challenging times. Three concurrent processes are now underway: the ongoing bishop consent process, the beginning stage of the listening process, and efforts to move toward long-term healing and wholeness in our diocese.
First, the consent process: We are in the final month of the consent process for the election of the Rev. Charlie Holt as Bishop Coadjutor.
This process, outlined in Canon III.11.3, requires us to seek consent to our election from a majority of standing committees and bishops across the Episcopal Church. Canon law allows 120 days for this process, and our consent period will conclude on July 20.
We continue to communicate with other standing committees and bishops, providing more information about our election process and associated events and circumstances as we have opportunity to do so.
As the Standing Committee, we are also working diligently to chart a course that will guide us after the consent process concludes next month.
Regardless of how the consent process ends, two longer-term efforts will be critical to our ability to do God’s work in our region in the coming years:
As you know, we are in the early stages of a diocesan-wide listening process, guided by Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, who is helping us plan an intentional process of listening to one another.
In the last several weeks, she has met with the Standing Committee, the Diocesan Council, and the Diocesan staff, as well as with representatives from several groups in the diocese who can help determine what a good and safe listening process looks like.
Once the consent process is complete, we hope we will be able to begin hearing more voices. We are persuaded that our way forward as a diocese will come only by listening to one another as fellow members of the Body of Christ.
Long-Term Healing and Unity
Finally, we are working to find a way toward the goal of healing and unity for our diocese. You know that we have many divisions among us in our diocese. Some people are hurting, some are angry and others are confused.
We must find ways to honor and understand all of these emotions as we do the hard work of healing and moving forward toward becoming a more unified diocese.
This will take substantial effort and time, and your Standing Committee is all in. We will continue to work towards unity, healing and wholeness, and we know that the first step in that long journey is acknowledging that our diocese is divided into more than just two camps.
But while we acknowledge the division that is besetting us, we rejoice in the one truth that unites us—Jesus is LORD. As we seek to heal and unite, let us be united in our service to our Lord Jesus Christ. May we serve alongside one another, bound together by a common mission to make the Kingdom of God visible in our diocese.
God be with you,
Your Standing Committee