Dear Friends in Christ,
The announcement was made today that I am one of four candidates put forward by the Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. We were asked to not make any public statements until the announcement was made. I now write to express a number of thoughts.
I am deeply honored to be on this list of candidates. From the first moment I was approached about this nomination from a number of people, I have been continuously surprised to be in this process. This slate of candidates is a strong group of leaders and I am pleased for the Episcopal Church. The slate put forward by the nominating committee also includes: The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina, The Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas of the Diocese of Connecticut, and The Rt. Rev. Tom Breidenthal of the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Of equal importance to me is this reality. We are not competitors for the role of Presiding Bishop. We are available to the call of Our Lord and the Church. They are my colleagues and my friends.
I am so proud to be the Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. I already know that I am called to be the bishop here. If the Lord calls me to this new role, that calling will be very clear. In the mean time, I love serving with and among you. If I am not elected I will continue doing what I already know, value, appreciate, and enjoy. You are always a blessing to me and I remain grateful for you in my heart and in my prayers.
The great work in this diocese continues. The goals laid out for future development of leaders, congregations, Dayspring, and financial resources continue to claim my attention as well as the bishop’s staff, the Diocesan Council, the Standing Committee, and other leaders from across the diocese. We are a healthy diocese with great claims upon us for the bold, compelling witness of the Gospel. If I am elected Presiding Bishop, the exciting work here will continue. If I remain the fifth bishop of this fine diocese, the exciting work here will continue.
I thank you for your faithfulness. I ask for your prayers. You always remain in my prayers.
Editor’s Note: Bishop Smith sent the above letter to the Diocese May 1, 2015.