By David Paulsen
Episcopal News Service
The Diocese of Springfield’s Standing Committee is in mediation with Bishop Daniel Martins to settle a disagreement over the bishop’s retirement, with Martins planning to retire in June 2021 and the Standing Committee insisting he step down sooner.
In documents obtained by Episcopal News Service, the Standing Committee has informed Martins it is unhappy with its previously approved arrangement allowing the bishop to reside in Chicago and commute to the diocese, which encompasses the largely rural southern half of Illinois.
“Your continued residence in Chicago presents an untenable situation best addressed by advancing your previously announced retirement date,” the Standing Committee said in a May 8 letter to Martins, threatening to revoke the permission it granted him to live outside the diocese.
Martins announced his retirement plans in October 2019 in an address to the diocesan synod. When reached by phone, he declined to talk for this story about the mediation and the Standing Committee’s efforts to force his early retirement. He confirmed to ENS that he had asked for and received permission to live in Chicago starting in September 2018 because of a “personal family matter” while returning to his diocese to continue his ministry there. [Bishop Martins candidly discussed his experience of being a bishop who resides outside his diocese in a May video message to the diocese. – Ed.]
He told ENS, however: “My hope is to remain in office until my successor is consecrated.” The Standing Committee announced in December it was laying the groundwork for a bishop search, but Martins said this week he wasn’t sure how far the search had progressed.
(Martins is secretary of the board of directors of The Living Church Foundation, Inc., which publishes TLC.)