Support the Café

Search our Site

Bishop Hahn “steps away” for a period of “repentance, retreat and reflection”

Bishop Hahn “steps away” for a period of “repentance, retreat and reflection”

The Rt Revd Doug Hahn, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, will step out of any position of ordained leadership for a period of one year, following an Accord reached between Hahn and Presiding Bishop Curry.

The Accord addresses revelations of an affair between Hahn and an adult female parishioner some years ago. The Diocese of Lexington website is silent on the matter, but the President of the Standing Committee published a letter from the Bishop to the Diocese on his parish website.

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Hahn

March 14, 2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I write you with great love for the clergy and people of this diocese, and with great commitment to the work of God’s mission among us.

I also write you with some difficult personal and family news, which I shared with our diocesan leadership earlier this week.

Several years ago – long before I was your bishop – I engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with an adult woman parishioner. I was wrong, and I have regretted it ever since.

I ended the affair, confessed my sin to a priest, and worked with a therapist to understand and heal my out of character breach in behavior. I asked for forgiveness from the other party and, in time, believed the matter was resolved. Beyond my confessor and therapist, I did not reveal this matter, believing that to do so would cause greater harm to my wife Kaye, other persons, and other communities.

A few months ago this matter came to light and was passed to the Presiding Bishop’s office. I confessed to Kaye and to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and together we have sought a healing and reconciling way forward. Many people, including you, have been hurt by my behavior and their consequences. I am sorry and I ask for your forgiveness.

Now is the time for healing and reconciliation. Kaye and I have begun our work of healing, and we are on a strong path. I ask that you provide us privacy as we continue to do the work of repairing and strengthening our marriage.

Now I am facing the wider consequences of my actions. Through the canonical process of the church – a process designed to help create healing and reconciliation – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and I have reached an “Accord”, or agreement, that for a period of one year I will step away from my ministry as Bishop of the Diocese and ordained leadership. This period will begin immediately.

We have agreed that this should be a time of repentance, retreat and reflection. It will be a time of healing of hurts. I will spend this time doing whatever is possible to make this right with the Church.

Bishop Michael and I, along with others involved in this process, reached this accord as brothers and sisters in Christ. We agree that this will allow me to return to my ministry as a stronger, healthier Bishop. …

At the appropriate time we will work on ways that I will be reintegrated into our common life and leadership. In the meantime I ask that you keep Kaye, me and our family in your daily prayers, as we will keep you in ours.

We serve a good God. We are a good church. I believe the grace and mercy of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit will see us through the coming days.

Christ’s Peace,

Bishop Doug Hahn

Doug Hahn was elected the seventh Bishop of Lexington in 2012, the successor to Bishop Stacy Sauls.

Photo: Bishop Hahn and his family at his service of ordination December 2012, via ENS


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Karen Newman

This situation of no bishop for a year, although unfortunate, would be a good opportunity to look into combining the two Kentucky dioceses.

John Chilton

From (emphasis added):

The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, working through the canonical disciplinary and pastoral processes of the Church, took this action after learning that Hahn had a sexual relationship with an adult female parishioner and intentionally withheld this information when seeking the position of bishop. Hahn has admitted to these charges against him.

[The Standing Committee] with the assistance of the Presiding Bishop’s office, has already begun the process of discerning the selection of a bishop to serve the Diocese of Lexington during the suspension.

Jim Naughton
John Chilton

Thank you, Jim.

John Merchant

Whether or not such incidents are shared with a search committee, the candidates themselves KNOW of their indiscretions, failures, moral lapses–whatever one chooses to call them–and they obviously either decide to hide them further or to take it upon themselves to determine that their past moral lapses are not impediments to election, consecration, and service as bishops in the church. It would appear they look at their pasts through purple colored glasses. The church needs to be more thorough in its examination and assessment of each candidate’s personal as well as vocational integrity and moral character alongside the typical evaluation of talents, skills, and work experience. The most critical information about candidates for the episcopate cannot be found on a computer printout.

Jerald Liko

Ugh. I fall in the camp of those who believe that withholding this information during the bishop-selection-process is the worst aspect of the story. We have got to improve our processes for vetting candidates. Of course, it would be wonderful if candidates told the whole truth during the process, but between this and the disaster in Maryland, it is clear that critical information bearing on suitability is being concealed, either by candidates themselves or by the committees who run the process.

I disagree with those who feel that mentioning a major past indiscretion is merely a line-entry on an endless list of sins. We all have those. If I bullied a poor boy in 7th grade, shoplifted a CD when I was fifteen, smoked a joint at 22, and then had an affair with a parishioner as an adult priest, well, all are sins, and as been observed, all are going to be forgiven in due course on the divine level. But when the question is about fitness to serve as bishop, the affair is the sin that represents a problem under a common-sense analogy.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café