To the Faithful of the Diocese of Georgia:
In the last year I've had some significant health setbacks. In my rehabilitation I've not been able to get back to 100%. My doctors and therapists have recently told me I never will. To be the bishop of a diocese of this size and scope, my experience tells me the bishop needs to be at 100% all the time. And you deserve such a bishop. It has been hard for me to admit this (pride being the worst of all sins), but I can no longer physically do what the bishop of this diocese must do. Thus, I have informed the Standing Committee I intend to resign as the Bishop of Georgia upon the successful election and consecration of my successor. The election will take place next year in Statesboro, on November 15-16. The consecration of the 11th Bishop of Georgia will be, God willing, on May 30, 2020. Your Standing Committee will oversee the discernment and election process.
When bishops make an announcement such as this, the usual script they follow is to say how wonderfully healthy the diocese now is, how leaving when things are going so well is for the best, and then the bishop subtly works in all sorts of backdoor compliments for all the great things he thinks he's done. I won't insult your intelligence by doing that, nor will I subject you to what we all know to be at best half-truths. The truth is we're facing tremendous headwinds as a Church and, as of yet, we've not done what we need to do to adequately address them. We aren't evangelizing as we must and our stewardship isn't strong enough to be sustaining in the long-term.
Over the next 18 months I will continue to put my heart and soul into this vocation. My schedule, however, will need some further adjustments due to my ongoing physical challenges. There will be no "lame duck" anything. If I hear: "we'll have to wait until the new bishop is here," then I will say "no" and we'll move forward. God's Mission won't be suspended over the next 18 months.
Nine years ago, you gave me a privilege I didn't deserve and that was to serve as your bishop. Other than my marriage to Kelly and the gift of our three children, your gift to me has been the most precious of my lifetime. I thank you for entrusting this office to my care and oversight. I ask your forgiveness for the many times I failed to be the bishop you needed. In all things, you have shown me grace upon grace and you have honored me in giving me this trust and responsibility.
Always in Christ,
The Right Reverend Scott Anson Benhase
Bishop of Georgia