[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves recently called for the election of her successor, and announced that she will be resigning in early 2020. That will be her 13th year of her episcopate. The text of her letter to the diocese follows.
A message from Bishop Mary
I write today to share with you my decision to begin the process of electing the next bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real. Many of you became aware last year that I was praying and discerning the timing of my departure as your diocesan bishop. I spoke with both the Board of Trustees and the Standing Committee at that time, recommending that we begin budgeting for the transition process. The transition of a bishop takes time, money and oversight. A search process is necessary. It includes full diocesan participation about the identity of the diocese, a review of its history, what has been accomplished during our tenure, and what the hopes and dreams are for the future. This work is essential to a healthy discernment process that results in the fruitful calling of our next bishop.
While a date for an electing convention is not yet set, the ordination and consecration of the next bishop will be held January 11, 2020. At that service the transition from my episcopate to that of our new bishop will take place. In other words, I will remain your bishop, working as I have, until that day. I will be in the 13th year of my episcopate at that time.
The Canons of the Episcopal Church and our diocesan canons will govern the process of the transition and election of the new diocesan bishop. The process will be overseen by our Standing Committee, assisted by the Office of Pastoral Development and a search consultant. This morning The Right Reverend Todd Ousley joined the Board of Trustees, the Standing Committee, myself and the staff so that we could be fully oriented to the process, to our respective roles during the time of transition and to express our own needs moving forward. The Standing Committee will soon communicate with you their next steps in appointing a Search Committee and the anticipated timeline.
Meanwhile, I am going to continue working as I have been, focusing on our Strategic Plan remix alongside diocesan leaders and staff. It will be important that I not involve myself in the search process, but continue to keep our diocese moving forward in the positive direction that has allowed us to accomplish so much in these years of ministry together.
Many will wonder what I am doing after my tenure here is completed. The answer is that I do not yet know. I will not run for election in another diocese. Personal considerations include needing more flexibility in my schedule, regaining balance in my personal life. The work of a diocesan bishop is demanding, and the Diocese of El Camino Real is no ordinary place! A leader who will harness the considerable energy, gifts and spiritual depth of this diocese will be needed to engage the Spirit’s call on our church and the ministry we share with our neighborhood partners. Our transition will be orderly and in the best interest of the church. Fresh energy will allow us not to miss a beat as we seek to live out God’s calling as a diocese.
Please join me in prayer, trusting in the grace of God who holds all life and calls us to exciting and fruitful opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. May we be courageous as we are enlightened, faithful as our wisdom is deepened, and true to our following of Jesus whose path leads us into all life.
I love you and I am deeply honored to continue serving as your bishop in the nearly two years before us. I will treasure this time of transition, knowing that God has yet more wonderful life ahead for us all.
Blessings of grace and peace,