The crisis in Ecuador Central was resolved today. The settlement is complicated but this is the crux of it: Bishop Ruiz, the Standing Committee, the Legal Representative, the Chancellor -- in short the entire diocesan leadership -- will resign, ceding all authority to the Presiding Bishop until they can have a convention to elect new leadership. Bp Katharine has appointed Bp Victor Scantleberry to serve as interim bishop and oversee a process of reconciliation.
Coming to Quito was not easy. It was a long flight for many of us. Quito is the most dangerous airport in the world. One bishop was mugged yesterday. Today a bishop spouse was hospitalized with altitude sickness. A lot of us have been impaired to varying degrees by the altitude. But if our presence helped bring about this step toward peace, where before there were threats of violence, it was worth it. Though the crisis is past, the troubles here did not begin recently and they will not be resolved soon. But this was a big step. We gave our friend Bishop Luiz Fernando Ruiz a standing ovation. We laid hands on him, his wife Tanya, and their baby for healing at the closing Eucharist. You can see the toll this ordeal has taken on them.
Today the new Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Center (815), Bp Stacy Sauls, made the case for a major restructuring of the the Church. We suffer from "death by governance" (Bishop Katharine). Up to 45% of the church budget goes to overhead. We have 75 standing commissions. He gave examples of ways to save millions of dollars from governance so we can redirect that money to mission and social ministries at the local level. We do not have a specific substantive proposal,but a proposed resolution for a special commission to create a restructuring plan to submit at a special convention. Note the point is not just to spend less. It is to redirect money and human resources from governance to mission, from centralized to local, while streamlining the governing bodies of the Church.
The same goals are behind our proposed canon to merge our two diocesan governing boards. Western Kansas and some other small, financially challenged dioceses are dong the same thing this year.