“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers of The Diocese of Michigan:
In September of 1999, one of the questions asked of me during the “walk-about” was: “you’re young; you could be a bishop a long time! If you were elected, how long would you be our bishop?” My response was, “as long as I believe God is calling me to be here. I have always been committed to following where God calls me.”
On February 5th of this year, I will begin my 19th year as a bishop in God’s holy Church. I have served as your Bishop Diocesan since November 1, 2000. After much prayerful discernment, I have heard God’s call to move into retirement. Therefore, in consultation with The Standing Committee of the Diocese and in conversation with the Diocesan Staff, I am calling for the election of the 11th Bishop of Michigan. It is my intention to resign effective December 31, 2019; and, in conversation with the Office of the Presiding Bishop, the ordination and consecration of the next Bishop of Michigan is expected to occur in February 2020.
I know that some of you might feel that I am “too young” to retire. At the time that I step down as your bishop I will be three months shy of my 66th birthday and, I will have given nearly 33 years of service as an ordained leader in the Church. The time is right for me to spend more time with family and friends who have graciously shared me with the Church for many years and to enjoy other lifelong passions.
It has been a distinct honor to serve as your bishop. You have taught me so much about what it means to be Beloved Community. My own faith has strengthened as I have served with and learned in partnership with you. This is still very much a ministry I love with the depth of my being.
The Standing Committee recently met with the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, from The Episcopal Church Office of Pastoral Development. In this role, Bishop Ousley is tasked with providing support and guidance to dioceses as they journey through times of episcopal transition. While it has been nearly 20 years since the diocese has experienced a transition in the bishop’s office, I am confident that with the able leadership of the Standing Committee you will journey well and faithfully.
Meanwhile, we have two years of ministry ahead of us. We have much to do as we continue to remain faithful to the call of God in our lives as individuals and as part of the Jesus Movement in southeast Michigan. During this time, I ask your prayers for the Standing Committee and all those who will have roles in keeping this time of transition focused. I ask your prayers for the Diocesan Staff who continue to work and minister on your behalf. I also ask your prayers for Karlah and for me as we travel this time with you; I promise we will keep you in ours.
The Rt. Rev’d Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr.