In a surprise move to many, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named Diocese of Lexington Bishop Stacy F. Sauls as chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church. Sauls was confirmed in a conference call with the Executive Council this morning. Episcopal News Service reports:
“The Episcopal Church Center exists to support the Church in serving a diverse and changing world,” Jefferts Schori said in a May 31 press release from the church’s Office of Public Affairs. “The church-wide staff has achieved new levels of excellence and innovation as the Church Center has been reorganized and some staff has been dispersed to offices in other geographic regions of the church. This transition represents a healthy and forward-looking opportunity to build on that good work.”
“Bishop Sauls brings a unique set of gifts to the next chapter of this ministry, particularly his distinguished service as a diocesan bishop. I am deeply grateful that he will join us in facilitating this work.”
Jefferts Schori brought her choice of Sauls to the church’s Executive Council during a telephone conference-call meeting on the morning of May 31, according to the church’s Public Affairs Officer Neva Rae Fox.
Sauls was a nominee for election as Presiding Bishop when +Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected and he has served on many committees and commissions of the church. He is known for his legal background and knowledge of the church constitution and canons and expertise in property disputes. In Lexington he led the church to address the needs of those in poverty for healthcare, housing, and education especially in development of remedial reading programs which have been widely copied.
Press release is here.
A pastoral letter to the Diocese of Lexington from Bishop Sauls is here.
In the last few days I have been called upon by the Presiding Bishop to consider this choice again by her invitation to take up a new adventure, the ministry of the Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church.
After long hours of conversation with Ginger, our sons, and a few very old friends, I have decided to accept the Presiding Bishop’s invitation. It is certainly an immense challenge. I suspect it will be a great adventure. I believe it is God’s call to me at this moment of my life. And I trust it is an opportunity to offer the lessons you have taught me to the larger Church.