Dear Friends in Christ,
Some years ago when Cindy and I were replacing the roof on our home in Racine, one of our neighbors came by and asked if there was a problem with the roof or was it “just time.” We responded it was “just time.” This phrase has now become part of our family vocabulary. That conversation came to me as I prepared to write this letter to you.
After over thirty-five years of ordained ministry and almost sixteen years as your bishop, it has become clear to me that it is time for me to retire and pass the crozier on to the 12th bishop of Milwaukee. Last night, the Standing Committee, Chancellor and I met with the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley of the Office of Pastoral Development to inform them of my intention to retire in November of 2020 and to begin the process of electing the next bishop of this Diocese.
I have felt a multitude of emotions as I considered these plans, but gratitude for our work and life together in my 16 years as your bishop is first and foremost. I have loved being your bishop and serving Christ with and among you. Our diocese has made a distinctive commitment to forming young persons for ordained ministry and giving them the opportunity to lead, as evidenced by the fact that we have the second-youngest average age of priests in the Episcopal Church. Moreover, thanks to the joint venture with LZ Developers at St. Francis House, our campus ministries at UW-Madison and around the Diocese are on a sure financial footing.
We have also reformed the way that we as a diocese come together to do the work that God has given us to do. Our governance is more representative and transparent than ever, and by making some difficult choices, we’ve lowered the percentage that parishes pay into the diocesan budget and the percentage of the diocesan budget that comes from these assessments. And through some difficult years in the life of our church, our diocese has remained united—not of one mind on all the issues of the day, but united in Christ nonetheless.
With my impending retirement, you have an opportunity, from a position of stability, to face the future. I pray that God will bless you with wisdom and courage, and that the Holy Spirit will lead you in discerning the role our diocese is called to play in the lives of our members, our communities and our church.
In the months I have remaining with you, Cindy, the girls and I hope to have the opportunity to say good-bye to many of you in person. Please be assured that you are in my prayers and that I will carry you all in my heart wherever God calls me to go.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller
11th Bishop of Milwaukee
PDF of Bishop Miller's letter