Dear People of Central New York,
Back in March of 2015, when I announced that I would be retiring as the Bishop of Central New York, I wrote these words to you: “I will be available to the Church in any way that God’s Spirit may call forth.” I did not know then how God’s Spirit might be moving, but over the past couple of months I was contacted through the Presiding Bishop’s office and asked to consider several possibilities. I now write to inform you that, after considerable prayer and thought, I have accepted the call of the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina to be their part-time Provisional Bishop.
As best as I can know such things, I believe that this is a call from God to which I must respond. The Episcopal Church in South Carolina is in a unique situation after a major split several years ago (coverage is available on the South Carolina diocesan website). Thirty-one congregations, and an estimated seven thousand members, now wish to remain a part of The Episcopal Church. Together, God’s people in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina are moving forward in unity and faith, and I look forward to working with them to discern what the Spirit is calling forth in new mission and ministry in that place.
I will commit to serving as Provisional Bishop in South Carolina for an initial period of two years. A provisional bishop does not have tenure, but does have the same canonical responsibilities as a bishop diocesan. My nomination will need to be affirmed by a special convention and election to be held at Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston on September 10th.
My timetable in Central New York will not change from what I originally announced. I am the Bishop Diocesan through October 31st. I will, however, start as the Provisional Bishop in South Carolina on September 1st, thereby giving up most of my sabbatical time in order to serve the Church in this way. The Canons allow this action and there are a couple of other places in The Episcopal Church where this is occurring. In addition, Bonnie and I still plan to return to Central New York at some point.
One of the main reasons The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has called me to this special ministry is because of you and the ways I have been formed as a bishop through our work together in the service of Christ. I will always be grateful to you for the mission and ministry we have shared.
I hope I will see you on October 22nd for a grand farewell celebration, where I will be able to extend more directly my gratefulness and love in thanksgiving for the fifteen years we have shared as bishop and people. Until then, know you are God’s beloved, and that I continue to hold you in my heart. I ask your prayers for me, as I remember you in mine.
Blessings and love to you all,
The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams, III, Bishop
For further information:
- Visit the website of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina for a timeline on the situation there.