Transition Update: Bishop-elect Deon starts working for Missouri Episcopalians

January 15, 2020
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Submitted by Kurt Greenbaum, Bishop Transition Committee member


On Sunday, March 1, Bishop-elect Deon Johnson officially begins working for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. He’ll move into a third-floor office in the Bishop Tuttle Memorial Building adjoining Christ Church Cathedral—the office occupied for 18 years by George Wayne Smith, the 10th bishop of Missouri.

“I'm just going to get out of this thing before he arrives in March,” said Bishop Smith, who will move into a vacant office down the hall for the remainder of his tenure. “I think it's ridiculous for him to have to move into an office, and then move into another one.”

The office move is just a small sign of the work underway to ease Bishop-elect Deon’s transition before he is ordained as the 11th bishop on April 25. Between March 1 and then, Smith and Johnson plan to take all their meetings together, visit churches, co-lead an upcoming clergy conference and spend a lot of time talking about the people, parishes and plans of the diocese.

It’s an “on-boarding” process he felt was important, drawing on his own experience and that of other bishops he’s known throughout the greater church.

“I've known bishops in other dioceses who have felt like they were kept out of the loop on important issues until they were in the job,” Smith said. “I don't want that to happen to Bishop-elect Deon.”

Assuming all the required consents are signed by other bishops around the church, Smith hopes the two of them will attend the next House of Bishops meeting in Texas in March.

Meanwhile, Bishop Smith with introduce his successor to other parts of the corporate life of the diocese: As the bishop of Missouri, Bishop-elect Deon will be an ex officio member of the board of trustees for St. Luke's Hospital, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Episcopal Presbyterian Health Trust, which has distributed millions in grants to support health care in underserved parts of the city and county since 2011.

More transition news

Members of the transition committee know our diocesan colleagues are eager for details. A surprising number of those details are interlocking and dependent on one another, so we’re working hard to align the pieces as quickly as possible to provide clear and comprehensive information.

For example, the transition committee is working on plans to allocate and distribute tickets for the April 25 ordination at St. Stanislaus Kosta Polish Catholic Church and the April 26 installation service at the cathedral. As soon as plans are set, we will share them.

We are doing everything we can to include as many people in the diocese as possible in these events. The committee plans to livestream video of both services. All you’ll need is an internet connection and a screen to watch them. Stay tuned for details. 

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