Greetings, People of the Diocese of Olympia,
We continue to be in a season of transition in the Diocese. Accordingly, I’m writing to share news of another important transition.
The Venerable Gen Grewell, Archdeacon for the Diocese of Olympia, has announced that she will be leaving her role on June 30, 2023 after nearly 14 years of service.
Below you’ll find her good letter to the Diocese reflecting on these past years of ministry to the community of deacons and to the entire Diocese. Please join me in thanking Gen for her faithful service to us all, and also join me in lifting her in prayer as she embarks on a new adventure.
Bishop Melissa Skelton
A Letter from the Venerable Gen Grewell
to the People of the Diocese of Olympia
This past year in July, Bishop Rickel announced he would be resigning as Diocesan Bishop effective December 31, 2022. While I was saddened to hear this, I knew in my heart one day this would come, whether it be a retirement or resignation. I have pondered many a time what I would do when this happened, or even if I would still be in the role of Archdeacon. So… at that time, I guess I began my own discernment process. I began by listening, watching, asking my own questions. Meeting with my spiritual director and other advisors so to come the answer to this question: where is God directing me now?
So with that in mind, I want to inform you that effective June 30, 2023, I will leave my role as the Archdeacon of the Diocese. I have been in this role since April 29, 2009 – almost 14 years. As I reflect back and remember receiving the bishop’s email with the subject title: “A question for you to discern” – opening it to read – “I have been discerning and now would like to appoint you the archdeacon for the diocese.” At that time I remember saying to myself out loud – “Me! You want to appointment me! Really!” I would be with him for a visitation that coming Sunday and then on to Clergy Conference at Alderbrook. I told him I would give him an answer to his question at Clergy Conference. So much as happened since that day.
We have ordained close to 20 vocational deacons. Not nearly enough, but the diaconate is strong and alive in Western Washington. Through my involvement with the Association for Episcopal Deacons (AED) and through the bishop’s encouragement, we began the Olympia IONA School which continues to thrive, forming deacons and local priests. We hosted a Province VIII Conference in 2014 for deacons, as well priests and lay. Deacons have been able to attend the AED Triennial Conferences with financial support. Our Community of Deacons gather once a year for a weekend retreat with Bishop Rickel. Deacons are more visible in the diocese on Commissions such as the Commission on Ministry, Liturgy & Arts Commission, Homeless Task Force. We serve at diocesan-wide liturgies such as Convention, Renewal of Ordination Vows, Cathedral Day and others where asked.
I have been deeply honored and humbled to have served as your archdeacon. When appointed, I was the first woman to be in this role, also the first deacon. Prior to my appointment, the archdeacons in the diocese had always been priests, and their primary role was to go settle conflict in a congregation. My role has been totally different. I have gathered the Community of Deacons on a regular basis. I also have followed those in the ordination process from the beginning to the culmination – ORDINATION. This has been a joy and an honor.
In March our Community will gather for our Annual Retreat. Canon Arienne Davison will help guide us and lead us through what this transition can and will mean. This Community is strong and will be even stronger as you move into the future.
I have been blessed in many ways by all of you in this diocese. It has been an honor to walk with you. I have been humbled by all the many ways the deacons have served and continue to serve. You all hold a special place in my heart, and I will carry you with me always.
The Ven. Gen Grewell
Archdeacon, Diocese of Olympia