Rhode Island

(This is the same text that’s been posted on the Diocese of Rhode Island’s Bishop Transition blog – it’s a note from me to the people of the diocese.)

After the reality of the news of my election to come and serve among you sunk in, I’ve begun to think hard about what the next few months are going to be like. The immediate tasks – acquiring the necessary documentation for the consent hearings at General Convention, writing thank-you notes, returning phone calls – filled the first two weeks. But now the rush of the urgent is over, and I’m relishing the time I have to think and pray.

Karen and I are starting to plan our move. I think we’re going to be staying in May House in North Kingstown, at least initially, when we arrive in Rhode Island this September. We’ll be keeping our home here in Arizona, both because our daughter is staying here to continue her studies in Digital Design (she’s changed her major from Physics) and in hopes that the market will get back to a point here in Phoenix where we’ll be able to sell the house without having to take a large loss. We’re both grateful that the Diocese is willing to let us live in diocesan property. It makes the transition much easier for all of us.

Speaking of being grateful, let me say how great a debt we all owe to the Search & Nomination Committee members and me in particular to them and the Transition Committee members. Together, these groups, along with the oversight team, have done a wonderful job in helping make this one of the smoothest transitions I’ve ever witnessed. I’m grateful, too, to Bishop Wolf and her staff for working with all of us, and myself in particular in allowing the few months to be what I believe will be an important time of getting to know each other.

My hope is that, when I arrive in Rhode Island, you’ll let me visit you informally on Sundays and weekdays. I’m going to have to learn where all the congregations are, start to create relationships with the clergy and lay leadership, and start listening to what you want to share about your dreams for the future. A few of you have already invited me to participate in some formal events, and I’ve happily accepted. If there are other invitations, it would make life much easier for all of us if you’d be willing to coordinate those through Liz Crawley, the assistant to Bishop Wolf. I know there are some formal meetings that must take place, and I imagine that the office knows when those will be happening and will be able to avoid any calendar conflicts. (I’m still working on getting up to speed on a new calendar.)

Moving has been, in my experience, an excellent time to take stock, to reflect, to make decisions about what to bring and what to leave behind. I think that work, both spiritually and practically speaking, will be my focus these next few months. I’m working on leaving behind some people here in Arizona who are very dear to me and our family. I want to savor those goodbyes so that by leaving well, they are ready for the next phase of their corporate ministry.

I’m very much looking forward to savoring our hellos as well.

Please do keep us in your prayers as this time of transition begins in earnest. You are all daily in my prayers.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Sandy Niles says

    I will be delighted to welcome you to RI in general, and Christ Church, Westerly. Love your blog… the intelligence and wonder in your writing… in the meantime, hoping you have a happy summer! May your “hellos” in New England be sufficiently full of joyful anticipation that your “fare-thee-wells” in Arizona are not too painful. Sending energy and light, with love from a lowly RI sheep.

  2. Thanks Sandy – I’m looking forward to meeting you in person.

    (And in there’s no such thing as a lowly sheep in the flock we are both a part of… Grin.)

  3. Lisa Fry says

    Welcome back to the East Coast. I am so excited for you, and you will be in my prayers during this transition– especially the transition away from Kenney. That was the most difficult part for Greg and me. I know you will enjoy your new Diocese (how could you not? It’s New England!) and I will be adding you to my personal prayer list for a smooth transition. I hope you enjoy working with your colleague Larry Benfield as much as we enjoy having him as a Bishop. But most of all– thank you for being such a formative part of my process. I try and utilize your wisdom and humor every day as I move toward completing the first year of my ordained priesthood. And just so you know– I have loved every single second of it. I am just thrilled for you, your family and the Diocese of Rhode Island.

  4. Thanks very much Lisa – I think I enjoyed teaching the class as much as you seem to have enjoyed being there. I’m looking forward to meeting Bp. Benfield – we’ve not met before the best of my memory. I’ll use your name so he’ll have fair warning. Heh.

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