Listening Sessions Scheduled in May and June: An Update from the Standing Committee

May 11, 2022

Dear friends in Christ,

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

You may recall that about a month ago, we asked members of the Diocese to take a brief survey to help us understand our collective readiness to proceed with the search for our next bishop. We were pleased with the response to the survey, and the survey data paint a clear picture.

The detailed results are available. As you’ll see, a substantial majority of people believe that there is sufficient trust in our diocese, that leaders have what they need, and that the issues around Bishop Breidenthal’s departure have been sufficiently addressed. However, there is a significant minority who feel otherwise, and we all need to be attentive to their concerns.

We received a number of comments in the open space on the survey. Those also tended to favor proceeding with the search process, though concerns were expressed. Transparency and communication from diocesan leaders is the chief concern, and we are working with Bishop Smith and other leaders to improve in these areas.

As promised, we will hold listening sessions near the end of this month. At these sessions, which will be facilitated by the Rev. Alissa Newton and her team from New Realm, we will discuss the results of the survey and hear related hopes and concerns from members of the diocese. This will help us in setting a roadmap for the search process and continuing to address hopes and concerns within the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Stay tuned for invitations, but the following dates have been set:
May 27 at 1:30 p.m., Procter Center. Diocesan lay leaders and clergy (e.g. Diocesan Council, Trustees, Procter Board). These groups will receive a direct invitation.
May 27 at 5:00 p.m., Trinity Church, London. Open session in person for any laity or clergy. Register now.
May 31 at 1:00 p.m. on Zoom. Clergy. Register now.
May 31 at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. Laity. Register now.
June 1 at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. Open to any clergy or laity. Register now.

Before the end of June, we will meet with our search consultant to set the roadmap for the continuation of search process.

Some have told us that we are needlessly delaying the search. Others feel that we are rushing into it. Our growing sense is that our diocese is ready to proceed, though our whole diocese has much work to do as we continue to become a healthier part of Christ’s body, the church. The concerns that we have heard are important, and we want to improve transparency, communication, sense of mission, use of resources, and our ongoing work of Becoming the Beloved Community.

As always, if you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, you may reach us at

As we continue to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ this Eastertide, we wish you every blessing.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. James Allsop, vice-president
Dr. Elizabeth Barker
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Cook
Mr. Barry Feist
The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, president
The Rev. David Kendall-Sperry, secretary
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio