Church of the Holy Comforter
This past Monday I was sorry to learn that your rector, The Reverend Chuck Reeder, has tendered his resignation effective October 1 and that simultaneously the members of your vestry have also resigned effective October 1. These actions follow soon after a meeting I had with your rector, wardens, and treasurer on August 8 during which I was informed that The Church of the Holy Comforter is currently facing significant financial challenges. These difficulties, I am told, stem from the fact that 42% of pledge income to the parish is currently being withheld by members of the parish who are unhappy with The Episcopal Church””members who, as it was explained to me, have no intention of contributing to ministry of The Church of the Holy Comforter so long as it remains a member of The Episcopal Church.
During that same meeting, I explained to your parish leadership that our Diocesan Canons have a provision by which my office will work with the leadership of any parish that is so “imperiled” to thoroughly assess the situation and to develop a viable plan for the future of the congregation. Over the past several weeks, my office, working with your Senior Warden, John Bosio, began taking steps to put that process in place. Subsequently your rector and vestry decided to resign. Even so, you should know that this process of assessing the life of the parish and developing a plan for recovery will continue to move forward under the direction of my office. For those of you that have concerns about the buildings and property, they belong as always to the Episcopal Church, and I am committed to seeing that the Episcopal Church continues to exercise its ministry in that location in the days and years to come. Moreover, your parish leadership has graciously expressed their intent to work with my office to that end without engaging in any disputes over the ownership of property. For their thoughtfulness and good will, I am indeed grateful.
You should know too, that although they have already tendered their resignations, your wardens and vestry have stated their desire and commitment to cooperate with my office to provide for a smooth transition as we identify the steps that will be necessary to provide The Church of the Holy Comforter with new pastoral leadership and guidance in the days ahead.
Over the next week, I will be in conversation with your rector and wardens to identify the specific steps and the timetable for the upcoming transition. Just as soon as that work has been done, you can expect to hear directly from me. To that end, I have scheduled a parish meeting for Thursday, September 6, at 7:30 p.m. at The Church of the Holy Comforter to update you on the situation and to outline the next steps that will be taken to reorganize and redevelop The Church of the Holy Comforter.
Although I am indeed saddened to know that some members of your congregation have expressed a desire to leave The Episcopal Church, I trust that they do so in good faith and out of a heartfelt desire to respond faithfully to the call of God in their lives. I want you to know that I continue to hold those individuals in my prayers and to ask God’s blessing on them in the same way I hold all of you in my prayers during these difficult days.
Just as The Church of the Holy Comforter has had a wonderful and vibrant history of ministry in the Broomfield area and in The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado in the past, I am confident that it will continue to do so in the days ahead. I am committed to working with you to that end, and, as always, I am confident in the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit working within us and among us to bear the fruit of God’s purpose in our lives. For now, God’s peace and blessing be with you. I will look forward to speaking with you soon.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
–(The Rt. Rev) Robert O’Neill is Bishop of Colorado