June 29, 2016

To the people of the Diocese of West Missouri: 
 
Grace   to you,   and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.  
 
We write to inform you of a process underway to strengthen the mission and ministry of the Diocese of West Missouri.
 
At the end of May, The   Right Reverend F. Clayton Matthews,   Bishop   of   the   Office of Pastoral Development*   appointed   Mary   Kostel , Special Counsel, to   visit West Missouri to   listen to the bishop, clergy,   and lay persons   of   the Diocese.    Her appointment   was in response to a   letter written by the Standing Committee   of the Diocese of West Missouri   to   The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop, requesting mediation of the pastoral relationship between the   bishop and   diocese (pursuant to   Canon III.12.10   of the Constitution and   Canons   of   The   Episcopal   Church).  
 
The   Standing Committee   wrote its letter having been made   aware of   concerns   among members of the   diocese   and   having   decided to seek help   as laid out in the   aforementioned   canon.    This   is a new   canon and a new   process   in the   Episcopal   Church, the aim   of which is   to   restore   pastoral   relationships   in a diocese where such might be   imperiled.    The process provides for   a time   of   mutual and careful   listening.    It is not   about finding or assigning   blame.  
 
Ms.   Kostel   has completed   a   visit to the diocese, has spoken to   the   bishop   as well as   to   several key leaders from   both   our   Diocesan   Council   and   our   Standing Committee, and   has   received open and honest cooperation from all parties.  She will now consult with Bishops Matthews and Curry, and we await   our Presiding Bishop's desires and   recommendations for next steps.  
 
In the meantime, if any person has   questions, any and all should   feel   free to   contact the bishop or the Standing Committee.    The   President   of the Standing Committee   will be away for the next several weeks for   vacation and to accompany our   cathedral's choir on   tour; therefore,   to inquire of the Standing Committee, please contact The Rev. Megan Castellan (610-209-5487 or northcentralmetro.wemo@diowestmo.org .  To inquire of the bishop, please   contact Bishop   Field   (816-471-6161,   ext   16;   or BishopField@DioWestMo.org ).
 
Through   this process, and with the help and good offices of   our Presiding Bishop,   we hope   to   move forward in the common ministry of our baptisms.    We are confident   that Christ is with us even in times of   disagreement.  Even as the two disciples walked and talked with the stranger who joined them   upon   the road to Emmaus-only to discover it had been Jesus all along-so   we   hope   also   to recognize the lively presence   of   Christ among us   in new and fresh ways.  To that end, we   call   the people and clergy of the   diocese   to prayer,   and   we   thank you   all   for your many ministries of witness and service   to the Blessed One in whom we will always   be held together in   bonds of   love and care.  
 
Faithfully in Christ,  
 
The Right Reverend Martin S.   Field               
Bishop of West Missouri                                 
 
The   Very Reverend Peter J.   DeVeau  
President of the Standing Committee 
 
 
*The Office of Pastoral Development serves our Presiding Bishop and the Church's House of Bishops in the areas of formation and development of bishops, of pastoral care of bishops and their families, of growing healthy diocesan systems, and of mediation according to canonical mandates.