[Episcopal Diocese of Easton press release] On Nov. 19, Bishop James Shand announced his intention to retire, effective July 1, 2014. He shared the news with diocesan clergy that morning at their monthly clericus meeting, and with Diocesan Council that evening. The Standing Committee had been informed on October 17.
Bishop Shand has served as diocesan bishop since Jan. 25, 2003. Most of his ordained ministry has been in the Diocese of Easton, having served as rector of St. Mary Anne’s, North East, from 1975 to 1989 and as rector of Christ Church, Kent Island, from 1989 to 2003.
Here is the text of his letter:
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
On October 17 at a meeting of the Standing Committee, I submitted my resignation as the Tenth Bishop of Easton, effective July 1, 2014. All six members of the committee were present, as was the Rt. Rev. Clayton F. Matthews, from the House of Bishops Office for Pastoral Development.
In announcing my resignation, I am not calling for the election of the Eleventh Bishop of Easton. Instead, I am suggesting that we call for the election of a Provisional Bishop who might serve for a yet-to-be determined period of time – a year, eighteen months, two years. Now, you may ask, why?
It is my belief, and the belief of the Standing Committee, that the Diocese of Easton would benefit from a period of discernment, questioning, and self-study before moving into the lengthy process of a search. This could be a chance for us to re-examine the office of Bishop as well as the question I frequently hear, “What exactly is a diocese?” Having a period of time under a Provisional Bishop would allow us the opportunity to catch our breath and examine these questions and not be hurried into making a decision. In the midst of a changing Church, we do not have to be locked into doing things the same old way; perhaps new times require new and creative approaches.
The Standing Committee has canonical responsibility for the pastoral oversight of the diocese. Diocesan Council is responsible for the programmatic and fiscal aspects of diocesan life. These two groups are working together to begin the process and will continue to do so as we move forward.
To make a beginning, at our Diocesan Convention on Saturday, February 22, the Rev. Rob Voyle of the Clergy Leadership Institute will lead us through an Appreciative Inquiry conversation about our life as a diocesan community of congregations, looking at our blessings and our hopes and dreams for the future. Everyone in our diocese is encouraged to participate, as well as the clergy and delegates who already will be in attendance.
Lynne and I have been pondering the timing of this decision for some time, seeking through prayer the appropriate time to begin a new chapter in our lives. It has been a tremendous privilege and an honor to serve as your Bishop, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have been a colleague in ministry for all these years. Thank you for your encouragement, support and love.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. James J. Shand,
Tenth Bishop of Easton