I wrote this letter to my congregation on 18 June 2011, and it was also distributed to the "Good Faith and Common Good" list.
Grace and peace to you, in Jesus Christ our Lord! With much gratitude for your recent prayer and support, I inform you that I have not been elected by the Diocese of Washington to be their next bishop. On June 18, 2011, the Reverend Dr. Mariann Budde was elected to be the next Bishop of Washington.
I congratulate Mariann, and her husband, Paul, both of whom Boog and I got to know during our Walkabout week. The Reverend Mariann Budde has the experience and poise to be a fine Bishop of Washington, and I salute her. I also offer her my prayers!
As many of you know, my decision to offer myself for candidacy as bishop was a strenuous one. I have had no desire to leave the Cathedral of St. Philip, or Atlanta; but I did begin to realize that the Diocese of Washington and The Episcopal Church needed me to be part of this important bishop election. The Diocese of Washington is a great diocese, and many people said that I have the gifts and strengths to be bishop there.
Thus, I let my name go forward in the Episcopal search process. I discovered that I rather enjoyed the journey! I learned much about myself in this process, and I learned much about the Diocese of Washington, for whom I will continue to pray.
I have also learned much about relationships in the process. And the relationship I am most thankful for (besides the one with my wife!) is the relationship I have with the people of The Cathedral of St. Philip. Each of you, almost to a person, has been magnificent to Boog and to me. You have been supportive, understanding, gracious, and faithful; and I so appreciate that.
Many of you admitted ambiguous feelings about the possibility of my leaving, but you were willing to see me as bishop in Washington. Of course, many of you were wagering that I would be elected! Such was the value you placed on my ministry, and such was your support. Now that I have not been elected, I will need those same people—you!—to take me back!
I have known that, as of June 18, 2011, God would be leading me to a new thing—either in Atlanta or in Washington, Now, the answer is clear. I am ready for a new thing here in Atlanta. I am so looking forward to a new chapter in my time and ministry at the Cathedral of St. Philip.
This has been a true discernment process for me, and I sense that this has been a valuable discernment process for the Cathedral of St. Philip. Both of us have imagined new possibilities, even if they were challenging ones. Now, we do, indeed, have new possibilities: God has led us to remain together, and I am excited about that. The Cathedral of St. Philip is one of the strongest and most vigorous parishes in the country, and I am honored to continue my ministry here with renewed energy and great love for all of you!
Again, thank you deeply for your prayers and support. I will always be grateful for the community of The Cathedral of St. Philip, a Christian community of grace and excellence and hospitality. As usual, I will take some time away from the Cathedral during the summer, but I will be around. And I will certainly be here on the Fourth of July to bless the runners of the Peachtree Road Race!
Please do keep me in your prayers. And keep Boog in your prayers! As you know, this process was an arduous one for her, too; and she has been her usual wonderful self. She joins me in thanking you for your great love and support.
Love to you, always, in Jesus Christ our Lord,