By now many of you have read the letter our Bishop sent out early Monday morning, letting us know that he has accepted a call to serve the community at Virginia Theological Seminary. This comes as a surprise to many of us. Bishop Mathes has led the Diocese of San Diego for twelve years and has shepherded it through some tumultuous times. He has built a collegial clergy community and transformed the face of diocesan leadership with the move of the offices to the Episcopal Church Center. He has been an exemplary and inspiring bishop. As his cathedral, St. Paul's has enjoyed a special relationship with our bishop, celebrating our major feasts together and benefiting from his presence at midweek services and special occasions alike. Bishop Mathes welcomed me to San Diego three years ago and has been a steadfast encourager and mentor for me as a new Dean. His wife, Terri, offered the cathedral her professional expertise in our 2015 staff transition, and she is a beloved member of the congregation. We owe both of them much, and we will miss them dearly.
The good news is that the Episcopal Church has a strong and deliberate process for the transition of bishops, and our Standing Committee, which will lead the diocese during the interim, has a good roadmap to follow as this diocesan community sets out on the road to discern whom God will call as our next bishop. You can read the Standing Committee's letter here. I have no doubt that a number of Cathedral members will be involved in various ways as this process unfolds over the next two years.
Meanwhile, St. Paul's Cathedral will continue to Love Christ, Serve Others, and Welcome All without interruption. Our day-to-day, Sunday-to-Sunday life will not change. St. Paul's will continue to be a leader and resource for the rest of the diocese, and we will support the diocesan staff in every way possible.
I know you will join me in praying for Bishop Mathes, Terri, the diocesan staff, and the Standing Committee as they navigate the coming weeks and months. We will have several opportunities to give thanks for our Bishop's ministry among us and to say goodbye in appropriate style. He will be with us for the Easter Vigil and on Easter Day, and we will certainly plan a splendid liturgical leave-taking event in early July, marking the formal end of his episcopate.
Virginia Theological Seminary is blessed to be welcoming the Mathes family and we have been blessed to have them among us. Thanks be to God for faithful leaders and for a church which can meet the challenge of change.
Your sister in Christ,
The Very Rev Penny Bridges, Dean