Saturday, January 24, 2009

Video of Bishop Lee at the Diocese of Virginia Annual Council

Jan. 23, 2009.
Reston, VA.
Bishop Peter James Lee announces the timing of his retirement.




And here is the text of the announcement:



From the Diocese of Virginia
To read the entire release, click Read more

RICHMOND, Virginia (January 23, 2009) – The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee announced today that on October 1, 2009, he will step down as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, leaving the Diocese in the capable hands of his successor the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston.

In January 2006, Bishop Lee called for the election of his successor, and Bishop Johnston was elected and consecrated the next year. Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, a bishop must retire either by age 72 or no more than three years after the consecration of a bishop coadjutor; both dates occur in the next year.

In making the announcement, Bishop Lee said, “I cannot refer to these plans to leave the Diocese of Virginia without placing them in the context of thanksgiving for you, the clergy and the lay leadership of the Diocese of Virginia. I thank God daily for you and I am grateful for the privilege of serving among you.”

Press Release from the Diocese of Virginia
Bishop Lee to Resign October 1, 2009

RICHMOND, Virginia (January 23, 2009) – The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee announced today that on October 1, 2009, he will step down as bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, leaving the Diocese in the capable hands of his successor the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston.

In January 2006, Bishop Lee called for the election of his successor, and Bishop Johnston was elected and consecrated the next year. Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, a bishop must retire either by age 72 or no more than three years after the consecration of a bishop coadjutor; both dates occur in the next year.

In making the announcement, Bishop Lee said, “I cannot refer to these plans to leave the Diocese of Virginia without placing them in the context of thanksgiving for you, the clergy and the lay leadership of the Diocese of Virginia. I thank God daily for you and I am grateful for the privilege of serving among you.”

Bishop Lee noted that being a responsible steward in light of the economic realities faced by parishes in the Diocese played a role in his decision. He stated, “My resignation will occur several months earlier than I had originally anticipated but I believe it is an appropriate and necessary response to the realities we face.” He noted in conclusion, “Our desire for neat and tidy endings can trap us in a past that becomes illusion and that same desire can blind us to a future that could become a promise. So the final months of our ministry together will not be a time of tidy endings. But they can be a time of reaffirmation of where we stand, on the rock, on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Lee was installed as the 12th bishop of Virginia on May 27, 1985. He was ordained to the diaconate in June 1967 and to the priesthood in May 1968. From 1968‑1971, he served as the assistant minister at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. In 1971, Bishop Lee became rector of the Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, N.C., and continued as rector there until he was elected bishop of the Diocese of Virginia in 1984.

Bishop Johnston will assume responsibility for pastoral oversight of the Diocese, which includes 180 churches, six church schools, two conference centers, eight retirement communities, approximately 450 clergy and 80,000 members.

“Bishop Lee’s decision to leave at this time is characteristic in that it exemplifies the selfless service to God, to the Episcopal Church and to the people of the Diocese of Virginia that he has exhibited throughout his tenure as Bishop of Virginia,” said Bishop Johnston. “Over the years he has been a visionary leader and bishop. Part of that leadership has meant making tough decisions, but all of them were made to strengthen the vitality and potential of the Diocese of Virginia—this latest decision is no different. In all of his actions—as a bishop, a colleague and a friend—he has set the bar very high for me. I am honored to succeed him.”

“Although it is with tremendous sadness that we will say goodbye to Bishop Lee after 25 years of faithful, steadfast service, it is also with a strong affirmation of the grace of his ministry,” said the Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, bishop suffragan of the diocese of Virginia. “Bishop Lee has led the Diocese and served the Episcopal Church through times of great change and has deepened the bonds between us within the Diocese. I look forward to working with Bishop Johnston in continuing to build on Bishop Lee’s tremendous legacy.”

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