Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE has announced that the diocese will not elect a second bishop suffragan when Bishop Bud Cederholm retires in November 2011.
“We will instead reallocate resources in order to hire in 2011 an archdeacon to oversee congregational development, strategic ministries that are congregationally based and issues related to congregations and clergy not in transition,” Shaw said in a letter distributed Dec. 3 to clergy, wardens and diocesan leadership. The letter is part of a document outlining how the bishops’ oversight of various diocesan ministries and operations will be assigned in 2011 and 2012.
The new hire is part of a plan to return to the leadership model familiar to many in the diocese from the early days of his episcopacy: “two bishops making decisions collaboratively with a senior staff and others,” Shaw said in his letter.
Additionally, the director of congregational resources and training, currently a part-time, interim position, will become full-time and permanent.
Cederholm will continue his visitations to congregations in 2011 but will begin cutting back in his other areas of responsibility. In 2012 he plans to assist up to two days a week with congregations in transition and clergy deployment.
The canon to the ordinary and the new archdeacon will have a role in the bishops’ 2012 visitation schedule, which is still in the works and may include multiple visits made on a day and summer visits. Ministries that no longer need a bishop directly connected to them will be assigned to staff members.
“I invite you to embrace these times of change—for our diocesan leadership and for each of the communities in which we minister—with an Advent attitude: one of watching and wating, of anticipating and getting ready for what we know is coming but can’t fully imagine. God is calling us forward. I join you with confidence and excitement as we answer that call together,” Shaw wrote.
The complete “Episcopal Oversight and Responsibilities” document is available as a PDF here.