My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
To our diocesan family,
Our dear friend, my sister in Christ, Stefani Schatz, the Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of California, died peacefully on Wednesday, July 12 at her mother’s home in Santa Barbara. Her husband, Joe Duggan, and her mother, Iva, were with her, and she had been in the compassionate care of hospice. I will be sharing the information about Stefani’s funeral at Grace Cathedral when this has been decided by Joe, Iva, and her sister.
Stefani was the first woman to be Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of California. She was a tremendous advocate for women in the Church, having founded the Glass Ceiling Facebook group for women clergy, as a prominent example.
Stefani was warm and attentive to all, at all times. The selfies and the Easter rabbit ears were fun expressions of a loving spirit that was felt throughout our diocese.
Stefani revised Fresh Start and made it Fresher Start, taking a curriculum for clergy in transition and made it responsive to current needs.
The vicars, the priests who serve our diocesan missions, received special care from Stefani. She gathered them monthly, forming a vibrant and mutually supportive community.
Ministries at all levels were encouraged by Stefani. She deepened the prayer life of the working group heads of the diocesan staff, who meet each Monday morning. Because of Stefani, we have been praying for all sorts of needs in the diocese each week — celebrations, people who suffer, congregations in transition.
Stefani encouraged and developed my ministry too. It is fair to say that the Episcopal Church would not be represented through the Presiding Bishop at the United Nations climate change summits if it were not for her. About nine months before the Paris Agreement meeting Stefani said, “Marc, I think you need to be at the Paris summit.” That statement set me in motion, and now we have formal status at the annual meetings and will be, for the third year, taking an active role on behalf of Presiding Bishop Curry.
Stefani’s accomplishments in our diocese in four years were tremendous. Personally, I loved working with Stefani. We worked very hard together and we enjoyed the work. I am so grateful that she and Joe answered the call to come and serve with us in the Diocese of California. The whole staff of the diocese, a wonderful team of dedicated people who work as well together as any staff I’ve experienced, is grieving over this great loss.
Sheila and I have been honored to walk closely with Stefani, Joe, and Iva over this last year since her hospitalization in Scotland. I want to thank her medical team in San Francisco, and I especially want to thank and honor Dr. Karen Khoo, my own physician. I connected Dr. Khoo and Stefani because Dr. Khoo saved my life when I had cancer eight years ago. While she could not cure Stefani, she showed great kindness as well as expertise in her constant care.
I also want to honor and thank Bishop Barry Beisner and the people of Joe’s parish who have supported Joe and Stefani immeasurably. Joe and Iva have become, with Stefani, so courageous and steadfast with one another, meeting each challenge with grace and unconditional love. Finally, I want to thank the clergy and people of the Diocese of California. You have held Stefani in the most luminous web of prayer possible, illuminating the gathering shadows with your love.
Our Mobile Canon is now deep in the heart of God, in God’s unshakeable peace.
O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of your servant Stefani, and grant her an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen