December 1, 2020
A message from the Standing Committee
December 1, 2020
Feast of Nicholas Ferrar, deacon

Dear friends in Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We who serve on the Standing Committee are writing to give updates on our diocesan transition.
On November 30, our diocese began a new chapter. We have said thank you to Bishop Breidenthal for his faithful leadership of our diocese over thirteen years. In gratitude for all that he has done, we wish him every blessing in the next chapter of his ministry.

In the Episcopal Church, when a diocese is without a diocesan bishop, the Standing Committee becomes the ecclesiastical authority. This formal term indicates that the life and the ministry of our diocese can continue, and many of those things which might have required the bishop can be approved or decided by the Standing Committee. 

Certain tasks require the ministry of a bishop. For example, only bishops can do confirmations or ordinations. In the immediate near term, we are finalizing arrangements with Bishop Ken Price to serve the diocese, organizing visitations, confirmations, ordinations, and other work that must be done by bishops. His working title will be Bishop in Southern Ohio, though he will canonically serve as assisting bishop, working with the Standing Committee as ecclesiastical authority. Bishop Price will work part-time. Bishop Ken Price is well-known in our diocese, having served here as bishop suffragan. He lives near Columbus.

In addition to Bishop Price, we will benefit from the ministry of Bishop Nedi Rivera and Bishop Wendell Gibbs. Many of you will know Bishop Rivera, as she has been living near Cincinnati for several years now and has been a regular presence in our diocese. Bishop Gibbs recently retired from his work as Bishop of Michigan, and he now lives near Columbus. Bishops Rivera and Gibbs will do occasional visitations, while Bishop Price will have a more active role.

We have heard from some people who believe that our diocese is healthy and ready to proceed quickly with a search for our next bishop. We have heard from others who believe we have issues that require attention and time to address. 

We have chosen to have a short time of reflection and assessment of our diocesan ministry and life over the next few months. You will receive more details soon, but we hope to hear from lay people and clergy about the needs and the state of our diocese. We want to get a sense of whether we are ready to embark on a relatively speedy transition heading toward the election of our next bishop, or whether we have particular challenges that might require outside expertise and more time. Look for details about listening sessions, surveys, meetings, and so on, in the weeks to come. We hope to launch this work in January.

During this time of reflection and assessment, for the next six months or so, Bishop Price will be visible as a regular presence in our diocese. However, the Standing Committee will retain its role as the ecclesiastical authority. Within three or four months, we expect to be able to lay out a timeline which could include a longer search period (24-36 months) and the need for an outside, provisional bishop; or we may see that we are ready to proceed on a more traditional timeline (about 18 months) continuing without the need for sustained, outside leadership. In either case, the Standing Committee will appoint a bishop search committee, and you will hear more about that in due course.

Much of the work of the diocese will continue through diocesan staff, ably led by Canon John Johanssen, Canon to the Ordinary. He will serve as chief of staff, and he will be in touch with the Standing Committee if there are matters which require our attention. Otherwise, diocesan committees and commissions, as well as congregations, clergy, and lay leaders should continue to interact with diocesan staff as usual.

We are aware that this communication may answer some questions and raise others. Please contact us with questions, comments, or concerns. You can reach our president, Larry Hayes, by emailing

This will be the first of many letters from us, and we want to be as clear and transparent as we can during this period. We expect to be able to write again within a couple of weeks with more details.

Of course, this time is not just the beginning of a new chapter for our diocese. We are at the start of our liturgical year, a time in which we look for Jesus and prepare to meet him in our hearts and lives. We have much to celebrate in our diocese, even as we have some measure of uncertainty. But we also know that if we keep our lives oriented toward Jesus our savior, he will bless us.

We encourage you to pray for Bishop Tom Breidenthal and Margaret, his wife, as they begin a new chapter. Pray for our whole diocese, and especially for those of us on the Standing Committee who have begun a kind of leadership we could not have imagined a few months ago.

You might like to offer this lovely collect from the prayer book.

Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

We wish you the blessings and peace of the Advent season. We are,
Yours faithfully,

Mr. Larry Hayes, president
The Rev. Philip DeVaul, vice-president
Dr. James Allsop
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Cook
Mr. Barry Feist
The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn
After taking early retirement from Kroger, Jon became Bishop William Grant Black’s Diocesan Administrator, and people across the diocese discovered a person of complete integrity and organizational skill always ready to listen, and to help parishes and ministries thrive. After the election of Bishop Herbert Thompson, Jr. in 1988, Jon continued his quiet work and teamed up with Mike Barwell and John Harris to create the Episcopal Community Services Foundation to expand the diocese’s capacity to tackle poverty in Southern Ohio. 

Jon was instrumental in organizing Archbishop Tutu’s visits to Cincinnati both before and after the fall of apartheid, and is deeply committed to racial justice and reconciliation. He represented the diocese for years as a Deputy to General Convention, serving on the Budget, Program, and Finance Commission for this multinational Protestant denomination. 

After retiring from the diocesan staff Jon has served in almost every leadership body in the diocese, including the Trustees and Commission on Congregational Life, and as President of the Standing Commission during the transition to Bishop Breidenthal’s episcopate. Jon's incredible mastery of institutional history (backed up by about a thousand file boxes in the basement, to his wife Jeanne’s despair) and his complete dedication to the Church made him the trusted counselor and fair-minded mentor of every Bishop of Southern Ohio over more than three decades. 

Congratulations to Canon Jon Boss!

~ Ariel Miller, Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming
Bishop Breidenthal's final sermon
Bishop Breidenthal gives his final sermon as our bishop on Sunday, November 29, 2020, at Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati.
Tribute video
The tribute video for Bishop Breidenthal shown during his last service as our bishop on Nov. 29.
Advent Quiet Morning

Begging Bowls: Opening Ourselves to the Present of Jesus' Presence
December 12, 2020
10:00am - 12:00pm

If in the midst of Advent, you would like a "time out" - a time of refreshment and renewal, or if you would like to be more aware of Jesus' presence in your life, Trinity Church on Capitol Square invites you to Advent Quiet Morning. 
The Rev. Margaret A. (Peg) Thomas, Ph.D. will be the guide for the Advent Quiet Day. A retired priest from the Diocese of Maine and former counseling psychologist, Peg first experienced quiet days while on retreat at the Society of Saint Margaret's, in Massachusetts. The retreats were 2-3 days set aside to be in quiet, to be present and open to God, to God's renewing and nourishing one's soul. Peg has led quiet days and retreats for congregations in Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and for deacons in formation in the Diocese of Maine.  

Advent Retreat Day at TSC
Saturday, Dec 5, 12 to 5 p.m.

The lectionary texts for the second Sunday of Advent give us glimpses of how God uses the edge to pull us toward discoveries of a peace that is not of our own making. The edge is often the starting place of God’s unexpected shalom. This shalom is a gift which God awakens in order that the hidden wholeness and desire of Holy Love may find its way into our lived experience in often subtle yet profound ways.

This retreat will invite participants to consider the edge places and times of their own experience and the holy surprise that often lies hidden in such space. A blend of word, music, imagery, and much silence will be the gift that is shared so that the edge may be welcomed and even savored.

The retreat will be led by the Rev. David Long-Higgins, UCC Conference convener and current President of the Ohio Council of Churches.

Episcopal Relief & Development year-end match challenge
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Episcopal Relief & Development launched the organization’s annual Year-End Match Challenge on November 5. Thanks to a generous group of donors, all donations to the agency between now and December 31 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $765,000.

“As Episcopal Relief & Development has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we have remained fully committed to our ongoing development efforts,” said Robert W. Radtke, President & CEO, Episcopal Relief & Development. “This matching opportunity comes at a moment when it is deeply needed and I am immensely grateful to the generous donors who have offered it.”

The Year-End Match Challenge will benefit the organization’s Global Needs Fund, strengthening key programs in three priority areas: women, children and climate. Donations will enable work around the world with local partners, helping communities overcome poverty, hunger, disaster and disease. Matched gifts will also help as Episcopal Relief & Development continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with financial and technical support in the United States and around the world.
Contributions made to Episcopal Relief & Development before the end of the year are eligible for matching, including contributions online, over the phone, by mail or through Gifts for Life, the organization’s alternative giving catalog. Gifts of stock or from an IRA are also included in the Year-End Match Challenge.

“By giving a gift this holiday season, together we are honoring the hopes and dreams of children, women and families and strengthening the communities where they live, ” said Betsy Deisroth, Vice-President, Advancement, Episcopal Relief & Development. “I urge you to take advantage of this Year-End Match Challenge by making a generous gift to Episcopal Relief & Development.”

Between November 5 and December 31, eligible contributions up to $765,000 will be matched. Donate online at, or call 855.312.4325. Gifts can also be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.
Discerning a call to ordained ministry?
compass on world map
Are you discerning a call to ordained ministry? In the past, the first engagement with the Commission on Ministry (CoM) for someone exploring a call to ordained ministry has been the Explorers’ Retreat, held at the end of January. This year, because of the pandemic, the CoM has restructured the Explorers’ Retreat, dividing it into two parts, both conducted via Zoom.   

The first part is a two-hour informational session scheduled for Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to noon.  The second part – with more focus on discernment – will be the weekend of January 29-30, with a two-and-a-half hour session on Friday evening and a four-hour session Saturday morning.  

The session on Dec 12 will cover the practical information you need to know about the process we use in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. It will also tell Explorers what they need to prepare and submit for the Explorers’ Retreat in January.  Because of the informational nature of this session, there are no prerequisites to participate, but please register in advance so we can send you the Zoom link and associated information. This meeting is appropriate for the Explorers’ priests and the Explorers’ spouses to attend, in addition to the Explorers.   

The Jan 29-30 session will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. This session is limited to Explorers who have submitted an application to attend, including a Faith Story and their priest’s endorsement.  Explorers will be sent a Zoom link after their application has been accepted. Note that the Dec 12 session is a prerequisite for the Explorers’ Retreat. If you are unable to attend the Dec 12 session, please contact Sherri Martin or Spencer Pugh to discuss alternative arrangements.

There is no charge for either event. Registrations for both sessions can be found on the Diocesan website, here and here. If you have questions or need more information, contact Sherri Martin, Assistant to the Canons, at or Spencer Pugh, Chair of the Commission on Ministry, at
Dismantling Racism: Anti-racism training Dec. 12
erasing racism
One way that the Diocese of Southern Ohio addresses the racism within us and around us is through anti-racism training, called Dismantling Racism. The training is required of diocesan leaders, including members of commissions and committees, church staff, and vestry members. The next session will be held on Saturday, December 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Training is a two step process:
  1. Before registering for the workshop, view one of the videos in the Racial Justice section on the DSO Learning Site You will be asked for feedback on the video on your registration form.
  2. Register for the next Zoom training on Saturday, Dec 12 at After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

There is no cost for the Zoom training. Questions? Contact Debby Stokes-Wayne at
Be Still and Know: Young Adult Virtual Retreat Dec 17-18
Join us for 2020's Young Adult Virtual Retreat, Be Still and Know. Take a deep breath and escape the chaos of 2020 as we provide an array of opportunities to reconnect with yourself and God.

If you register at the link below by December 4, a care package to enhance the retreat will be shipped to you. Registrations received after Dec 4 will receive their care package after the retreat has ended.

Becoming Beloved Community
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Follow the latest news and events related to The Episcopal Church's work on Becoming Beloved Community here in our diocese at

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Connecting with our cathedral
Music Live at Lunch

Music Live at Lunch, Christ Church Cathedral's weekly concert series, will feature these upcoming performances listed below. Currently these free concerts are being live streamed via Facebook on Tuesdays at 12:10 p.m.

Dec 8: Cantata Chamber Ensemble: Bach cantatas
Dec 15: Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band
Dec 22: Cathedral Choir with Elizabeth Motter (harp): Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols
Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols
Rescheduled date:
Sunday, December 13, 5 p.m.

An Advent Procession with Lessons and Carols, originally scheduled for November 29, was rescheduled to Dec. 13. The program will be live-streamed at 5 p.m at
Lessons and Carols compilation available Dec 12
Cincinnati-based recording artists will release a collection of well-loved Advent and Christmas hymns along with nine scripture readings from the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Contributors include Turtledoves, Michael Andrew, Brianna Kelly, Stephen Patota, Kim Taylor, Ellery, Adam Peterson, Brooklynn Hansley, and Bailey Miller. 

The compilation will be available for download via
on Saturday, December 12.
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 

The Christ Church Cathedral choir will perform on Sunday, December 20, at 5 p.m. 

4:30 pm | Pre-service Recital (Stephan Casurella, organist)
5:00 pm | Lessons and Carols

Based on a beloved service offered at King's College in Cambridge, England, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols takes an imaginative approach to liturgy, weaving together scripture and song, moving from prophecy to fulfillment, to tell the story of the birth of Jesus.
*In Response to COVID-19
All programming is subject to change due to pandemic-related restrictions. Whenever possible, we will offer services and concerts via live stream if in-person gatherings are not permitted. Please check the cathedral website ( for updates throughout the season.
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Christ Church Cathedral is located at 318 E 4th Street in downtown Cincinnati. For more information, news and events, visit
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