[Episcopal News Service] The Diocese of Springfield’s Standing Committee and Bishop Daniel Martins have reached an agreement over the timing and terms of his retirement, allowing Martins to continue carrying out some of the functions of bishop until his successor is installed and granting the Standing Committee ecclesiastical authority over the diocese for an interim period.
The agreement, announced July 29, was reached through a mediation process led by retired Indiana Bishop Edward Little.
Episcopal News Service reported in June that the Standing Committee had informed Martins it was unhappy with its previously approved arrangement allowing the bishop to reside in Chicago and commute to the diocese, which encompasses the largely rural southern half of Illinois.
Martins had asked for and received permission to live in Chicago starting in September 2018 because of what he told ENS was a “personal family matter,” while returning to his diocese regularly to continue his ministry there. In October 2019, he announced his retirement plans in an address to the diocesan synod. He said he intended to step down in June 2021 upon the consecration of his successor.
Instead, he will enter a “transitional sabbatical” on Feb. 1, 2021, the diocese said, at which point he will “delegate ecclesiastical authority to the Standing Committee.” He will continue to handle “matters that require the bishop’s actions,” such as ordinations and deployment of clergy, though his schedule of regular visits to congregations will cease during the sabbatical.
His retirement date is now set for June 30, 2021, unless a successor is consecrated sooner.
The full text of the diocese’s July 29 announcement follows.
BISHOP MARTINS AND STANDING COMMITTEE ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT
The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield and the Standing Committee of the Diocese have reached an agreement through a mediation process. The process was in response to a conflict arising from the Standing Committee’s perception of the viability of the Bishop’s episcopal oversight of the Diocese while living in Chicago.
The mediation process was overseen by the Presiding Bishop’s Office for Pastoral Development and the mediator was retired Northern Indiana Bishop Edward Little.
The terms of the agreement indicate that Bishop Martins will enter a transitional sabbatical beginning February 1, 2021. The sabbatical will end with his retirement on June 30th, or upon the consecration of the 12th Bishop of Springfield, whichever comes first.
During the transitional sabbatical, Bishop Martins will delegate ecclesiastical authority to the Standing Committee, with the exception of those matters that require the Bishop’s action, including those matters related to ordinations, deployment of clergy within the Diocese (in consultation with the Standing Committee), as well as clergy discipline.
The Bishop’s official visitation calendar will end on January 31, 2021, and Bishop Martins, in consultation with the Standing Committee and with the office of the Bishop for Pastoral Development, will designate a bishop to provide such assistance as may become necessary during his sabbatical. However, it should be noted that, during the sabbatical, Bishop Martins will welcome invitations to preside and preach, including administering baptism and confirmation.