When Peter J. Lee, the soon-to-retire bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (the country’s largest diocese) announced he was retiring three months early this coming October, he hinted that he had a few plans up his sleeve before he heads for retirement heaven in Chapel Hill, NC. Well….he’s finally unveiled his next destination: as interim dean of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral until the place gets a permanent dean in September 2010.
Folks were feeling kind of bad at the diocesan convention in January when Bishop Lee said he was leaving early to save the diocese $63,000 (one-quarter of his salary package) as it was thought he was giving up a chunk of salary for the sake of the Old Dominion. Not so fast - I am betting his salary in California will be far more than that. I’ve been once to Grace; which is atop the San Francisco hills with sweeping views of the Bay and a cool labyrinth in the nave. The place is far more theologically liberal than Bishop Lee is reputed to be so the move should be a real switcheroo for him.
The 3,000-mile move will also remove the bishop a few steps away from all the depressing news concerning the lawsuit they lost last year against 11 departing conservative churches who took off after Bishop Lee and most of the delegates to the 2003 Episcopal General Convention in Minneapolis approved the election of a gay bishop. The diocese describes his move here.
- Julia Duin, religion editor