[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts press release] Noting that he is now in his 19th year as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE Jan. 15 announced his call for the election of a bishop coadjutor to succeed him upon his retirement. The proposed date for the electing convention is April 5, 2014.
“I love being your bishop and it is an honor to serve you,” Shaw said in a letter announcing his decision, sent Jan. 15 to diocesan clergy and leadership. “These years have been some of the richest years of my life. All of you and this work have taught me much about myself and the nature of our loving God for which I will always be grateful. I am full of gratitude for all that God has given us to do: the challenges God has offered us, the opportunities and all the experiences of God’s abundance which we have experienced in our life together.”
Oversight of the election process is the responsibility of the diocesan Standing Committee, with the leadership of its president, the Rev. Zenetta Armstrong, rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, and its vice president, David Bergquist of Christ Church in South Hamilton.
The Standing Committee will meet on Feb. 11 with the Rt. Rev. Clay Matthews, the Episcopal Church’s bishop for pastoral development, to begin its work, which will include appointing nominating and transition committees.
It is anticipated that the consecration of the new bishop will take place in the fall of 2014.
Following that, Shaw and the new bishop will work together for a period of time before Shaw’s retirement, the date of which is still to be determined.
In his letter, Shaw outlined his priorities for the ongoing work of the diocese in the meantime. Those include implementing the mission projects funded by the diocese’s nearly complete $20-million Together Now fundraising campaign. “I also am committed to the work of our newly established task force on nonviolence in memory of Jorge Fuentes, our research initiative on church growth and continuing in teaching and outreach through our communications media—all of this in addition to the ongoing work of the diocese. I am full of energy and enthusiasm to do this work with you,” he said. “As always I ask for your prayers and I assure you of mine as we begin this new chapter together.”
Shaw, who will be 68 in August 2013, was consecrated a bishop on Sept. 24, 1994, and became the 15th bishop of Massachusetts on Jan. 15, 1995. He is a life-professed member of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, a religious order of priests and lay brothers in the Episcopal Church.
Established in 1784 and comprising 185 congregations across the eastern third of the state, the Diocese of Massachusetts is among the Episcopal Church’s oldest and largest, in terms of membership. In addition to Shaw, the Diocese of Massachusetts is served by a bishop suffragan (an assisting bishop), the Rt. Rev. Gayle Elizabeth Harris.