[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Diocese of Spokane Bishop James E. Waggoner Jr. recently announced that he has asked the diocesan Standing Committee to begin searching for his successor.
Waggoner, 67, said he will resign his post upon the ordination and consecration of the ninth bishop of Spokane.
Waggoner was ordained and consecrated in October 2000 as the diocese’s eighth bishop.
He recently sent the following letter to the people of the diocese.
May 21, 2015
To the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane:
Dear Friends in Christ,
Fifteen years ago today, May 21, I received a phone call from Tom Robison, President of the Standing Committee in this diocese. Tom asked, “Would you be willing to buy some purple shirts?” – his way of saying that I had been elected to serve as Bishop of this diocese. My answer was an enthusiastic, “Yes, and thank you!” Gloria and I still remember the experience of that day, and today look back wondering how fifteen years could have passed so quickly. For us, “Yes” was the right response. Life with you here in this holy and gifted diocese has made it so.
And now it is time to say “yes” again; to say “yes” to the next chapter of life and ministry for this diocese and for Gloria and me. After an ongoing period of discernment, prayerfully reading the signs around us and the spirit within us, we recognize that the time has come for me to call for the election of the next Bishop of Spokane. Accordingly, I have asked the Standing Committee of the diocese to initiate the episcopal election process, and I will resign as your Bishop upon the ordination and consecration of my successor.
Having announced my intention to resign, I am thankful that this will not happen immediately. The process for electing and consecrating the next Bishop is deliberate and normally takes from eighteen to twenty months or so. We are blessed to have a very able and wise Standing Committee overseeing and implementing the discernment and election process, and they will have the benefit of substantial support from the House of Bishops’ Office of Pastoral Development.
I enthusiastically look forward to our continuing together, focusing on God’s mission and carrying out vital ministries already in place and emerging. As I continue to do so, Gloria and I are already reflecting on the indescribably wonderful gift it has been to serve with you, learn from you, and know what it means to be abundantly blessed by being part of this loving body of Christ.
As we anticipate the future, I think of a small book titled To Pause at the Threshold, by Ester de Waal. In it she emphasizes that the Christian journey always calls us to new lands, new opportunities, new chapters, and that there is a time where we pause before moving into what God still has in store for us. May we pause at this threshold together, then prayerfully, expectantly, and joyfully say “yes” to the new chapter God is opening for this diocese and for us as we go forward in Christ.
James E. Waggoner, Jr., Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Spokane