Two very important announcements have been made today by the Diocese of Montana. First, an announcement from Bishop Carol Gallagher, Assistant Bishop:
I am so grateful to have served with the people of the Diocese of Montana over the past four years. I have been truly blessed to work with Bishop Brookhart and his amazing staff which is small but mighty in this vast and beautiful state. I am so thankful for the Native Ministries that have blossomed across the Diocese and pray that these will continue to grow in the coming days. By the rules set forth in the Canons of the Episcopal Church, when the Diocesan Bishop retires or steps down, an Assistant Bishop must step down as well. So that means I bid you farewell with a full and truly grateful heart.
I have been called as Regional Canon in the Diocese of Massachusetts and begin there on November 1, 2018. I will be in Montana in September and October and hope to see many of you at convention. This leave taking at this time, informed by my challenged physical health and my family concerns, is done with a heart full of love for the many, many gifts you have shared. Thank you for making me at home here and blessing me with lifelong friendships and partners in Christ.
And now, a statement from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Montana:
Members of the Standing Committee have been quite busy over the last several months: supervising the work of the Nominating Committee, naming and supervising the work of the Transition Committee, meeting with staff about the coming transition, and planning for time following Bishop Brookhart’s retirement.
There have many rumors about what comes after November 1. We have been somewhat silent as, quite honestly, things keep changing. The Standing Committee is working with the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development (Bishop Todd Ousley) to understand our options. We are hopeful that the Office of Pastoral Development will be able to help us bring in a Bishop Provisional (essentially an interim bishop) sometime after Bishop Brookhart’s retirement. There are over twenty Dioceses involved in searches for new Diocesan Bishops at this time. The Standing Committee is prepared to assume Ecclesiastical Authority effective November 1, 2018. We intend to maintain that authority for as long as necessary. That might be until such time as a Bishop Provisional might be made available to us, or, it may be through the duration of our Search Process for the Tenth Bishop of Montana.
Should a Bishop Provisional not be available to our Diocese during the interim, we will be asking clergy and laity alike to “step up” to assist one another through this time of discernment and election. We ask your prayers for the members of the Standing, Nominating, and Transition Committees as we work through all of these issues and concerns. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can do so via email at SCPresident@diomontana.com, or you may call the President of the Standing Committee, The Rev. Donna Gleaves, at 406-223-9588. The membership of the Committee can be found on the Diocesan Website at https://diomontana.com/standing-committee/.
Just wanted you all to know!