Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island Geralyn Wolf announces her retirement late next year

From here:
The Right Rev. Geralyn Wolf, a convert from Judaism who stepped into the history books 15 years ago by becoming only the second woman in U.S. Episcopal Church history to be ordained a diocesan bishop, is planning to retire as Rhode Island’s Episcopal bishop late in 2012.

Wolf, who turns 64 next month, broke the news to some of her staff Thursday, her first day back after undergoing knee replacement surgery on Jan. 31.

She made a more public disclosure on Saturday at the close of an evangelism convocation attended by priests and lay people at the Providence Marriott.

Although she limps a bit, and is using a cane, the bishop said the repairs to her knee, which have temporarily kept her from climbing the stairs to her second-floor bishop’s office, had nothing to do with her planned retirement.

Rather, she said, it was a sense of time.

“To tell you the truth, I thought about it several times over the last few years, but I either felt it was a little too soon or I was too young.”

After her marriage four years ago to businessman Thomas Charles Bair Jr. in a colorful ceremony in April 2007 in Providence’s Cathedral of St. John, Bishop Wolf says she thought about it again but decided that wasn’t a good time either.

“But now I’ll be at the age that most people retire. It would be nice to see what other things could be in store on the other side of 65, though I don’t know what that may be.

“As long as I have the energy and vitality, I might as well say to the Lord, ‘What will you have me do now?”’

Even after 15 years on the job, the bishop admits she still doesn’t know the number of Episcopalians in Rhode Island.

“Some surveys say there are 35,000 Episcopalians. That’s not true. Another says there are 17,000. We know that’s not true.”

The real number, she said, could be as low as 7,000, with about half of them attending church on any given week.

The dwindling number of churchgoers, along with a decline in the number of congregations — from 64 parishes and missions in 1996 to 55 today — has also led to a financial shortfall that she wants to address before a new bishop takes over.

“Just like the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island, we are in very difficult times. We are merging churches, closing churches. We have lost income and anticipate losing more income. That means we have to right-size the budget for these times.”
 Read it all here.


Dale Matson said...

TEC will be poorer with her departure. May God richly bless her and her husband.

Kelso said...

Probably the Best of the Worst. Widely viewed as an "Honorary Man" by the far left of the church. I always thought her half-way sensible for a Bishop (sic).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What can one say, when you are a women and "older"
there is concern. When you are a man there is a
"richness in your continued service." Does it matter
how many Episcopalians are in the diocese in order
to keep it "open"?