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REC Bishop David Hicks Resigns as Ordinary of the Diocese of Northeast to be rector in Butler, PA

REC Bishop David Hicks Resigns as Ordinary of the Diocese of Northeast to be rector in Butler, PA

PRESS RELEASE
April 26, 2019

Dear Reformed Episcopal Brothers and Sisters,

I write to you regarding recent news for the Reformed Episcopal Church, and for the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: The Rt. Rev. David Hicks has sent a letter to the standing committee and the diocese, resigning as the Ordinary of the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. He has received and accepted a call to be the rector of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Butler, PA, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, part of our province, the Anglican Church in North America.

I know this announcement meets all of us with surprise, perhaps shock, and certainly sadness. Bishop Hicks has served his diocese for fourteen years as its pastor, and at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary. Furthermore, his calling is away from episcopal service, although he will still be a bishop without specific portfolio.

As the saying goes, "Once ordained always ordained." This call even comes in the middle, not the end of his life's service. At the same time the sense of finishing what God has called us to do in one specific endeavor, much earlier than expected, sometimes comes along the road of ministry. This kind of occurrence appears at all levels of service both lay and clergy.

I realize though that such an unexpected call in our brother's life may cause some of us to speculate. I hope we will not do this. We should all hear what Bishop David has expressed in his letter as from his heart and love for Jesus Christ. The decision to accept a new call was driven by the leading of the Lord to return to parish work. He simply wants to be a rector again ministering to the local congregation!

Bishop David's decision was personal and pastoral, not anything more.

Bishop David served the Reformed Episcopal Church and his diocese faithfully for fourteen years as a bishop. He, along with his team, led our historic seminary, the Reformed Episcopal Seminary, into full accreditation with the Association of Theological Schools. He was called additionally to serve as the Vice President of the REC.

He has been of enormous help, support and service to me, to our jurisdiction, and the Council of Bishops. Bishop David has done the hard work of the episcopate with the love, integrity, and steadfastness, into which God and His Church call a man for such a difficult challenge.

My dear friend even includes in his letter of resignation, as further testament to his godly character, a humble reflection. As he puts it, "the diocese needs a bishop with fresh perspective and the particular gifts that will be helpful in moving the diocese forward from this point."

Thankful for Bishop David's service and saddened by his decision, in the will of the Lord, I believe we should listen to what God is saying to us through Bishop David.

Bishop David's anointing of what the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic needs for its future leads me to address how we take the next steps. Certainly until July 31, Bishop David is still the Ordinary. After that point, our REC Constitution and Canons call for the presiding bishop to become the ordinary in an interim capacity, allowing for a search process, election, and consecration of a new bishop.

To this end, I have already begun to meet with the Standing Committee of NEMA, under Bishop David's permission and support, to outline what I believe is necessary for this process. I have referred to it as similar to a rector search at the parish level. The constitution and canons call for the standing committee of the diocese to conduct the search process. This may involve the formation of a sub-committee as a search committee.

The latter could consist of standing committee members and include others in the diocese to help. Final approval of all search committee procedures and conclusions reside with the standing committee it serves.

Easter Blessings in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Ray R. Sutton Presiding Bishop

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