November 20, 2007,
Dear Friends in Christ,
I have communicated to the Presiding Bishop my request to be released from my ordination vows and the obligations and responsibilities of a member of the House of Bishops. I have taken this step in order to be received into the Catholic Church. Through a long season of prayer and reflection Marcie and I have come to believe this is the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s call to us for the next chapter of our lives. We are grateful to our brother in Christ, the Most Rev. Robert N. Lynch, the Bishop of St. Petersburg, for his openness to our request and for his prayerful support.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home where I was given the gift of a deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ and a reverence for God’s revelation of his love and redemptive purpose in the Word written, as well as the Word made Flesh. I was blessed to be brought into the family of the Episcopal Church 40 years ago. I have a deep love for the sacramental life, most especially the Eucharistic sacrifice through which God continues to pour his grace into our lives in the Word that needs no words.
I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I had to serve this faith community as a deacon and priest. I am most grateful for the opportunity you, the people of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, gave me to serve as your bishop and to participate in the life of the Anglican Communion. You made it possible for me to share in the mission of God that can never be bound by geographical or political barriers.
I believe God is now calling us to continue our ministry to serve in the healing of the visible Body of Christ in the world. I am convinced our Lord’s deepest desire is for the unity of the Church.
Marcie and I will never have the words to express to you the depth of our gratitude for the support you gave us during my medical leave and for the joyous celebration of the ministry you allowed us to share with you that brings to a close my ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. We will pray for the continued health and vitality of the Diocese of Southwest Florida.
The following prayer by Thomas Merton speaks more eloquently than we can find possible at this moment. Marcie and I have experienced an abundance of God’s grace throughout our lives, and we continue to trust God in the future, which continues to unfold for us:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.