Presiding Bishop issues letter to staff regarding three employees

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has issued the following letter to the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

December 11, 2015

Dear Friends,

I need to inform you that on Wednesday I placed on administrative leave Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission, and Alex Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement.  This is a result of concerns that have been raised about possible misconduct in carrying out their duties as members of senior management of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

I want to be clear. My decision should not be confused with a finding of fault, but is necessary to allow us to find clarity. We are taking these allegations seriously and there will be a full and fair examination of the concerns that have been raised to be conducted expeditiously by an independent investigator.  To protect the integrity of that process, we will not be able to say more about the concerns at this time.

I ask that you pray for all who are involved and who are impacted by this situation.

I also ask that we all refrain from speculation, difficult though that may be. We all have a responsibility to protect the integrity of all the human beings involved and also the integrity of a fair and just process in this matter.

Bishop Clay Matthews, Director of the Office of Pastoral Development, will be coordinating a team of women and men, lay and ordained, to offer pastoral care for all involved.  Look for additional information about the pastoral support team and how to contact them in due course.  Bishop Matthews is available should any member of staff find a need for immediate pastoral care. He is also available for remote staff.  Contact him at any time at  Additionally, I encourage each one of you to do what you need to do to care for yourselves and each other.  Remember the benefits available through the Health Plan’s Employee Assistance Program.

On Monday, December 14, I intend to meet with you all by video conference.  Canons Michael Hunn and Chuck Robertson will be present at the Church Center to begin conversations with various departments about their needs and concerns as we move forward in these initial days. Information about the Monday meeting is forthcoming.

I want you each to know I trust your faithfulness and integrity as we all work together.  The days ahead will be difficult, but God is good and we will pray and work through this together in the best interest of all involved.

Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry


  1. Marylin Day says:

    What now?

  2. The Rev. Fred Fenton says:

    I feel for Michael Curry. That is a rough start to a demanding job. It is said that after all the hoopla of election and ordination a new bishop is brought down to reality by a meeting at which she or he learns about legal actions against the diocese and priests who are in various kinds of trouble. Apparently the top job of PB is not exempt from such trials. Presiding Bishop Curry is a good man. He will manage to find his way through the woods. I’m sorry that health problems have come on him at the same time. We need to support him in every way we can.

  3. The Rev. Faye Hogan says:

    Well put ,Fred, and I totally agree! The Rev. Faye Hogan

  4. Trevor-David says:

    Praying for all who are impacted by this untimely announcement. As our PB and Primate, Michael Curry will deal faithfully and fairly with this issue. Welcome Back and speedy recovery to PB Curry!

  5. Glenna Faust Geiger says:

    Pray without ceasing, giving thanks to God in all things.

  6. Cn. Shirley M. Watts says:

    Continuing prayers for our Presiding Bishop Curry and for the church!

  7. JE Kaufman says:

    I think not speculating (and offering possible reasons…) is a good direction to follow from the PB, as well as praying. Amen.

  8. Selena Snith says:

    Prayer is helpful and ignorance is not helpful. Not speculation, but knowledge and clarity and discussion at all levels is needed; otherwise, transparency is seen as something only when convenient. Perhaps the previous Presiding Bishop has knowledge as well as responsibility regarding this matter.

    • Iván García says:

      But of course! However, it seems quite hypocritical to hide the facts from the people of God, for unknown reasons/motives.

      It is a wrong step that could affect the PB’s credibility and the Church’s transparency.

  9. Paula Wicker Hamby says:

    With thanksgiving for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and prayers for his complete healing and going forward with the problems facing the church at this time. God will sort this out, and we will do well to follow his advice about non-speculation. I am thankful to be be an Episcopalian!

  10. Dr. Erna Lund says:

    Thank you dear members of our Episcopal family for voicing your points, well taken–well spoken. Indeed as Selena Smith expressed “perhaps … matter …” as there have been concerns re the re-ordering of priorities of the former PB’s Office for some time and also the role of Alex Baumgarten in these critical concerns. In this Holy Season we must be drawn close(r) to God in the Holy Spirit and the redeeming birth of our dear savior Jesus Christ. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is exemplifying extraordinary strength, courage, devotion and spiritual vision and we of his flock stand ready to support in any/every way. Praise the Lord for the gift of PB Curry our Shepherd.

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