Letter from Bishop Rayford High on deanery restructuring
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Your diocesan Executive Council met this past Saturday, January 25, at St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, for our regularly scheduled gathering. The agenda also included business from the December meeting that was cancelled because of the icy weather. I want to report to you all an important decision we made.
As I have said in previous letters and statements, I believe we need a deanery structure that is honest about where we are as a diocese, realistic about the best use of our resources (laity, clergy, financial), and that reflects geographic integrity. The canons (Sec. 35.1) allow the bishop to change the deanery areas from time to time with the concurrence of the Executive Council. During this past year the Standing Committee, Executive Council members, and laity and clergy across the diocese have offered ideas, suggestions, and feedback. The result is the revised deanery plan that I presented to the Executive Council Saturday. After a good discussion the Executive Council concurred with the revised deanery plan, which is attached to this letter.
Here is how this transition will begin to play out:
- At the February Deanery meetings, some essential decisions will need to be made.
- Where appropriate, keep the same elected leadership and simply re-elect them.
- Have an election for new leadership.
- During the spring/early summer, as stated at convention I will be visiting each deanery to listen and to answer any questions.
- In these restructured deaneries we have made provisions for congregations that are now mission stations to be incorporated into the appropriate deaneries after they successfully reorganize. Those loyal Episcopalians who are still members of these mission stations but worship in our congregations are welcome and encouraged to be involved in their deanery.
I have attached the supporting material which was given out at the Executive Council meeting Saturday. If there are questions, please do let me know.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth