Addressing members of the Diocese of Virginia, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has written a rare letter that offers reassuring words about a bishop’s early resignation from office:
Over the course of the past few months, I have walked with Bishop Shannon [Johnston] and his spouse, Ellen, as they have been in a time of real spiritual discernment about their future and that of the Diocese of Virginia that has led to his decision to resign this autumn as the XIII Bishop of Virginia. While this decision will come as a surprise to many of you, I can assure you that much prayer and many restless days and nights have accompanied his and Ellen’s deep discernment. They have done so as people of faith truly seeking to live as God guides and leads them.
Let me join with you in recalling and celebrating the many and varied accomplishments that you and +Shannon have enjoyed during his tenure as Bishop of Virginia. As Presiding Bishop and Primate, I have been aware and deeply appreciative of the leadership of the Diocese of Virginia in strengthening and expanding companion relationships throughout the Anglican Communion. The “Triangle of Hope” fellowship linking Virginia with the dioceses of Liverpool in England and Kumasi in Ghana is but one example of how such companion relationships work to define new understandings of communion and collaboration. Closer to home, +Shannon shared with me his excitement over your new model for episcopal visitations, a model that is creating a more deeply knowing and meaningfully connected relationship between your congregations and the ministries of your bishops. This holds encouraging promises for years to come.
… Lastly, I would add on a more personal note, that I shall never forget and always be grateful to Bishop Shannon for his pastoral care for me and my family when I had emergency surgery a few years ago in Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center. He did so quietly and without fanfare even though he was actually on his sabbatical at the time.