Hat tip to Bruce K Mason at IntegrityTalk-West for speedy access to this release for dissemination to Episcopal Oregonians as well as our brothers and sisters who are looking to our diocese in observation of this transition.
An Open Letter to the Diocese of Oregon From the Standing Committee February 7, 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
At our annual Diocesan Convention last fall Bishop Itty announced the ending of his Episcopal ministry among us and called for the beginning of the transition towards the election of a new Bishop. No details or timetable were presented at Convention and so the last few months have been a time of trying to discern the next steps for us all.
Faced with this uncertain situation the Standing Committee met On January 16th of this year with Bishop Clay Matthews, who is the Bishop in charge of Pastoral Development for the National Church and assigned to our Diocese by the Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts-Schori. Bishop Matthews has met with Bishop Itty privately and also with the Standing Committee and Bishop Itty together. At those meetings the Standing Committee engaged with Bishop Matthews and Bishop Itty in the task of negotiating a grace filled transition. With Bishop Matthew’s guidance, a proposal was presented to Bishop Itty that would allow him to move to Long Island to be with his wife and family, where they have resided since Christmas Day, 2007.
The agreement includes the Bishop’s full salary and housing allowance for the remainder of 2008, his family health and life insurance as well as a generous portion of his travel budget for the remainder of this calendar year. This will allow Bishop Itty to represent the Diocese as the Bishop of Oregon at the Lambeth Conference this summer, and to keep the official title of Bishop of Oregon through 2008. The intent of this paid sabbatical is to provide Bishop Itty with undistracted time to discern his next ministry, and to devote himself to his considerable volunteer commitments as President of Church World Services and Vice President of the National Council of Churches.
This proposal was made by the Standing Committee with the advice of Bishop Matthews. After reflection, Bishop Itty agreed to this proposal without changes on January 24th. A joint communication from Bishop Itty and the Standing Committee was sent to the leaders of the diocese on January 25th. In accordance with the Canons of the Church, the Bishop will transfer his Ecclesiastical Authority to the Standing Committee of this Diocese on
March 23, 2008.
So, what is next?
The members of the Standing Committee have begun meeting or communicating with the Diocesan Finance Committee, the Board of Trustees, Diocesan Council, the Deans and Presidents of the Convocations and the paid staff at the Close to begin the process of discerning our next steps together as a Diocese. This is the immediate priority of the Standing Committee.
Our prayer and hope is that we can work together and support each other through this time of transition. We will make every effort to keep you informed of news and developments as matters evolve and become clearer. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact any one of us.
In Christ’s love,
The Standing Committee
The Diocese of Oregon Standing Committee Members are:
THE REV. ALCENA BOOZER
120 NE Knott Street
Portland, OR 97212
MARY CRAMER (President)
1221 SW 10th Avenue #413
Portland, OR 97205
THE REV. ANNE BARTLETT
467 Holly Street
Ashland, OR 97520
CHARLES (“CHUCK”) MARTIN
944 SE Sellwood Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202
THE REV. SHANNON LEACH (VP)
13906 Majestic Court
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
49180 McKenzie Highway
Vida, OR 97488
THE REV. SIMON JUSTICE
445 NW Elizabeth Drive
Corvallis, OR 97330
SHARON RODGERS (Secretary)
2673 Chad Drive
Eugene, OR 97408
FACT SHEET – FEBRUARY 7, 2008
The Standing Committee met at its regular meeting on February 7, 2008 at St. Paul, Salem. We hope this fact sheet answers questions you may have.
What is the Standing Committee?
The Standing Committee is the council of advice to the Bishop. There are eight members on the committee, with one clergy member and one lay member elected at each Diocesan Convention for a term of four years. According to the Canons of the church, it becomes the Ecclesiastical Authority in a diocese when a bishop leaves.
What Episcopal ministry will be offered after Bishop Itty leaves?
The Standing Committee will be working for the continuation of Episcopal ministries (confirmations, ordinations, installations) . A team of retired bishops have offered their help. The Deans will continue to assist in the celebration of these occasions.
What happens after Bishop Itty leaves?
The Standing Committee wants us to have some time and space to have unhurried conversations about our Diocese and our future together. Therefore, we are proposing that we appoint an assisting (interim) bishop. We are working with the office of Pastoral Development of the National
Church on this matter.
What is the status of the current Diocesan staff?
The ministries of the Diocesan staff are valued and appreciated. We are searching for a mutually agreeable date for a meeting with the staff.
How can we celebrate the ministry of Bishop Itty?
The Standing Committee regrets that Bishop Itty feels that time does not allow for regional celebrations. We are asking the Deans to help us create opportunities to say goodbye.
The Standing Committee will continue to communicate with you on a regular basis. Please include the Bishop, his family, and the Diocesan leadership in your daily prayers.
DISCLAIMER: The names, addresses, email addresses of the Standing Committee members are original to the Open Letter and have not been included by me independently. I have however with the insight of Lisa Fox, deleted the phone numbers of the members.