An Open Letter to Standing Committee Members and Bishops with Jurisdiction by The Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese (“CLSD”)
The Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese was initially organized in 2003 (in association with the Via Media USA) to provide a voice for the disenfranchised moderate majority (primarily lay, but also including a few brave clergy) by calling for full participation of all points of view and all sorts of persons in the governance and ministry life of the diocese, and for Springfield's return to an active and cooperative role within the Episcopal Church.
CLSD congregations represent approximately two-thirds of ASA and Pledge and Plate income within the Diocese of Springfield and many CLSD members were actively involved in the election process that resulted in the election of Father Dan Martins.
CLSD wants all in the church, especially members of Standing Committees and Bishops with jurisdiction, to know that while Father Martins may not have been the first choice of all of our members, he was very near the top of everyone’s list of preferred candidates, and we strongly urge you to provide Father Martins with the necessary consents. CLSD has been assured in writing by Bishop-elect Martins that he will not take the Diocese out of The Episcopal Church -- “I cannot imagine circumstances in which I would seek to lead the Diocese of Springfield out of the Episcopal Church. Period. Full stop. Take that to the bank. Should I ever come to believe that my own soul is fatally compromised by my association with the Episcopal Church, I would leave it simply as an individual ……. I am clearer than ever that this is where I am called to be. What would cause me to individually leave would be a conviction that my own soul's health was in clear and present danger. I don't foresee that happening.)” Thus, Father Martin’s stated commitment, and the very makeup of the Diocese of Springfield (see the election Process Survey results http://www.episcopalspringfield.org/documents/SurveyResults.pdf) should assure the broader church that the Diocese of Springfield is not leaving the Episcopal Church ..… the most favorable environment for that eventuality has passed without ever having the necessary votes to succeed.
CLSD believes our bishop-elect to be a person of integrity and honesty, with evident gifts for gracious listening, inclusive leadership and pastoral care – three of the most urgent needs within the Diocese. We believe he will be faithful to his vows to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church. We encourage anyone with questions or concerns to contact Fr Martins directly [firstname.lastname@example.org].
The hope and prayer of the CLSD is for a speedy affirmative conclusion of the consent process. We look forward to the consecration of our new bishop on March 19, 2011, with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as chief consecrator.
Charles T Evans – Convener / Moderator CLSD