September 20, 2010
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
The Episcopal Diocese of California
1055 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Dear Bp. Marc,
I am writing in response to your Pastoral Letter of September 14.
The difficult and prolonged discussions at St. Timothy’s regarding the diocesan assessment were motivated only by concerns about the strength and health of the parish and its ability to do mission. At no time was there an expression of resistance to support small and/or ethnic congregations. To insinuate that the decision that was reached by the vestry was racially motivated is to impugn the integrity of people who deserve better.
As for the “central assumption” to which you refer, there was none, and for you to state categorically that there was is misleading and inflammatory. When a small group of clergy and wardens gathered to discuss the assessment formula and the possibility of a revison, our sole intent was to explore ways of achieving a more balanced allocation of resources that would benefit all diocesan congregations and institutions.
Furthermore, far from building the Beloved Community about which you often speak, your Letter seems to intentionally divide the Diocese and to pit congregations against one another. I do not understand this.
I am disappointed that you have used the authority of your office to communicate things to our diocesan community in a Pastoral Letter that are simply not true.
At the same time, I am grateful that you are committed to extending the conversation that has begun, and to seeking input from across our diocese. It is my fervent prayer that this work will lead to revitalized ministries and strengthened relationships throughout The Diocese of California.
(The Rev.)Steven R. Strane
cc: Shelton T. Ensley, Chair, Executive Council
Paul D. Evans, President, Standing Committee