To All the Faithful of Our Diocese:
Since Bishop Mathes announced his sense of call to serve at Virginia Theological Seminary, many of you have been asking questions about the coming transition. Our first priority is celebrating all the ministry which has occurred these past twelve years in our diocese and properly saying our good-byes. Other correspondence will be sent about events to help us accomplish this. Knowing that we all care deeply about what will come next, here is some basic information: under our canons, the Standing Committee assumes ecclesiastical authority upon the bishop’s departure, including oversight of the transition process. With a flurry of added meetings, your Standing Committee has already begun that process, working closely with Nancy Holland as diocesan staff liaison.
We have decided to hire an assisting bishop for the period of the transition who can act on the Standing Committee’s behalf in discharging many day-to-day duties. We anticipate that the assisting bishop will maintain a schedule of visitations, performing those tasks which canonically must be performed by a bishop, such as confirmations and ordinations. We have also developed a detailed plan for sharing ecclesiastical authority with our assisting bishop. That plan incorporates our decision to continue the work of the Commission of Ministry uninterrupted during this transition.
We are aided in our work by the office of pastoral development of the House of Bishops. That office will help us identify candidates to serve as assisting bishop and finalize a contract. We anticipate using a consultant who is experienced in the procedures for seeking and electing a new bishop. So as we progress with securing an assisting bishop, we will also seek a consultant and begin the work of establishing the committees to identify candidates for our next bishop diocesan and manage the transition. Thankfully, our diocese has been accruing some funds for such transition expenses. You can anticipate further communication every step of the way affording opportunities for input or questions.
Most importantly, your Standing Committee is rooting all we do in prayer, looking for guidance from holy scripture, where we learn again and again that our knowledge of God always deepens when we are able to enter the unknown trusting in the Spirit. Please make regular prayer for our diocese a recurring part of your personal and communal worship.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the president of the Standing Committee, the Rev. Dr. Simon Mainwaring, 858-220-2699. We welcome your communication with us as we move into the future together as a diocese.
The Standing Committee
The Rev. Dr. Simon Mainwaring, President
Mr. Jim Stiven, President-Designate
The Rev. Gwynn Lynch, Secretary
Brother John Charles Westaway
The Rev. Kathleen Kelly
Ms. Helen Astleford
The Rev. Laura Sheridan-Campbell
Mr. Jose “Joe” Gamboa