Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ecumenical officer Christopher Epting announces retirement

From Episcopal Life Online-

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations, has announced his retirement at the end of 2009, according to a release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs.

"It has been a distinct privilege to serve two presiding bishops and this church in the ongoing quest for Christian unity," Epting said. "As we move into the future, ecumenical and interreligious work will have to be done differently, and fresh thinking will be necessary to see how this might best be accomplished."

"I am very grateful for Bishop Epting's abundant and effective gifts in ecumenical and interreligious work over the last several years," said Jefferts Schori. "We will miss him and his gifts."

According to the Presiding Bishop's office, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson, associate deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations since 2001, will serve as interim ecumenical officer after Epting's retirement.

"It's been a pleasure to work with Bishop Epting, and I am glad to serve as interim," Ferguson said. "Serving as associate deputy for the last eight years brings important continuity to our ecumenical partnerships. I have a strong commitment to the ecumenical and interreligious engagement of the Episcopal Church."

Epting was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Iowa in 1988, following 16 years as a parish priest in the Diocese of Central Florida. During his tenure in Iowa, Epting focused on the ministry of all the baptized, the renewal of the diaconate, spiritual formation, and ecumenical relations both locally and nationally. He was a leader in the state council of churches, Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa, and chaired the Episcopal Church's writing team for "Called to Common Mission" effecting full communion between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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