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Usually, we have a synopsis of the concluded Synod Assembly posted within two days of adjournment sine diesadly, not this year.

One of the actions of the Synod Assembly, the Setley motion to escrow mission support until either the bishop of Sierra-Pacific Synod is no longer actively serving in that position or until disciplinary charges are brought, pointed to matters on the other side of the continent. Those matters have consumed much time and energy across the church, and that drain of time and energy has been felt in our synod office as well.

That drain of time and energy, coupled with pressing matters on the territory of the synod and a dose of exhaustion from the heavy weeks leading up to the assembly have militated against writing up a full synopsis. Work has begun on an after action report; you can see the beginnings of it on the Synod Assembly 2022 page. It is considered a draft (as indicated by the "under construction" image). Should you have any feedback, feel free to email me at Bishop@WV-WMD.org.

I do think it important that I bring you up to date on the Sierra-Pacific matter as the Setley motion was adopted, and there has been movement on both the Sierra-Pacific and the Churchwide front. The problem, however, in stating with accuracy what exactly that movement is presents itself.

The members of the Conference of Bishops were informed late Saturday―I learned at 9:24 p.m. EDT―that the Presiding Bishop intended to bring charges against the bishop of the Sierra-Pacific Synod. The Conference of Bishops was briefed late Sunday night via Zoom. A statement was issued by the Conference of Bishops on Monday.

This is where it gets messy. The bishop of the Sierra-Pacific Synod subsequently issued a statement, indicating that they had already tendered their resignation to their Synod Council (prior to the Presiding Bishop indicating that she would bring charges) and had asked the Synod Council to delay an announcement to allow time to notify family. After that, the veep of Sierra-Pacific issued a statement and chronology, indicating that the Synod Council had voted no confidence and had asked the bishop to resign, the delay being in relationship to the development of a severance package requested by the bishop as part of resignation negotiations.

I am still not certain what to believe. This has become a case of who knew what, when, and how. Frankly, I am not surprised. Social media has been weaponized.

I have not been aggressive with respect to communications on this matter because I want to make sure that I have accurate information ―not easy in this case. More and more we have become victims of thinking that we must keep up with the news cycle which expires faster than mayonnaise left out on a hot day. When we rush in an attempt to be relevant under these circumstance, we risk talking before we even have half the story. Some have had to retract or amend statements, and it is always harder to set the record straight after the fact. It also undermines credibility.

The short of it is this: the conditions of the Setley motion seem to have been fulfilled. To be certain, I await one of three things:
  • putting my own eyes on the charges and confirmation that the Appeals Committee has received them;
  • a clear and unambiguous statement from the bishop of the Sierra-Pacific Synod (confirmed by that Synod Council) that the bishop is no longer actively serving; or
  • confirmation from the Sierra-Pacific Synod Council that any suspension issued by the Presiding Bishop has been complied with.

I hope that, as a church, we can all learn to slow down a bit when it comes to communication. Rapid communication of uncertain or inaccurate information serves no one. It produces more heat than light and often becomes occasion for violation of the Eighth Commandment. I've learned this the hard way, and I prefer not to repeat my past sins.

As for the full synopsis of Synod Assembly, that will have to wait until next week. I have duties in the middle and SW regions of the Synod and am leaving on my motorcycle momentarily.

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