In 2018, I was sitting at Diocesan convention in Columbia when I was approached by a fellow member of the clergy and asked, “Would you be willing to run for Standing Committee? We need one more candidate and you’d really be doing us a favor.” Now bear in mind that I had no intention of running for anything at that convention. I was still getting to know the Diocese and didn’t really feel ready to jump into Diocesan leadership. However, I told my friend that I would do it if they had no other options. Less than ten minutes later, Susan Palmer, an Assistant Dean at the University of South Carolina Law School and President of the Standing Committee, approached me and said, “I hear you’re willing to stand for Standing Committee. As a fellow attorney, I would really like you to be my Vice-President. What do you think? Say yes. Please!”
So began my journey in Diocesan leadership which has taken more than a few unpredictable turns. After serving one year as Vice-President of the Standing Committee in 2019, I was elected President of the Standing Committee in December of 2019. That’s right, December of 2019, just before a world-wide pandemic and financial crisis were about to take hold. Then, in February of 2020, I was called to the Bishop’s house for a private, in-person meeting, told that he intended to retire as of December 31, 2021, and that as President of the Standing Committee, I would have a leading role in the bishop search process. That work began in earnest shortly thereafter. When it came time to elect a new Standing Committee President in December of 2020, the Standing Committee turned to a provision of the Canons that allows the incumbent to serve an additional term should the circumstances require and asked me to stay on as Standing Committee President for one more term. I reluctantly agreed and was re-elected.
My work with and for the Diocese over the past two years has been weighty, frustrating, stressful, time-consuming and fulfilling, all at the same time. Although not without difficulty, it has truly been a joy and an honor to serve, especially when such heavy matters beset us as a Diocese. I feel that the Standing Committee and I have made a real difference in the life of the Diocese and the Church as a whole. The Diocese weathered the initial shock of Covid, we navigated through uncertain financial waters, we formulated and executed a bishop search process that was efficient, canonical, sound, and fair, we had a successful electing convention, and are leaving the Diocese on a firm financial footing, reducing the draw on the endowments while increasing the value of the endowments. I am extremely proud of the work the Standing Committee has done.
However, this success depended on one group of people who were instrumental in my Diocesan leadership over the past two years: you, the staff and people of St. James. You shared your Rector with the Bishop and the people of the Diocese and supported me in my Diocesan service. Your kindness, generosity and understanding when I was preoccupied and distracted with Diocesan affairs has been deeply appreciated.
The November 6th Diocesan Convention will be my last convention as a Standing Committee member and as Standing Committee President. Shortly thereafter in December, I will turn over the gavel to a new Standing Committee President and I will lay down my responsibilities with a sense of relief, gratitude and exhaustion. Thank you for your unwavering support. I am proud to have served the Diocese, the Standing Committee and the Bishop, but most of all, I am proud to be your Rector.