Dear Members of Trinity:
I write this with sadness. Beginning yesterday, the Presiding Bishop has suspended Bishop Hahn from his duties for a period of one year. Bishop Hahn revealed that, several years ago, before he was our bishop, he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with an adult woman in his parish. His pastoral letter to the Diocese of Lexington is below.
This impacts Trinity and every congregation. More specifically, it impacts Trinity because I am president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese. When there is not a bishop in place, the Standing Committee assumes oversight of the Diocese. The Standing Committee will meet on Thursday, March 17th to begin the work of moving forward. As this progresses, the staff here at Trinity and I are working to ensure that Trinity continues to function smoothly.
I will be available after both services this coming Sunday, March 20, if you wish to discuss any of this.
Please keep Bishop Hahn, his wife Kaye, and the Diocese in your prayers.
The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington
The Rt. Rev W. Douglas Hahn, D.Min., Bishop of Lexington
A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Hahn
March 14, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I write you with great love for the clergy and people of this diocese, and with great commitment to the work of God's mission among us.
I also write you with some difficult personal and family news, which I shared with our diocesan leadership earlier this week.
Several years ago - long before I was your bishop - I engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with an adult woman parishioner. I was wrong, and I have regretted it ever since.
I ended the affair, confessed my sin to a priest, and worked with a therapist to understand and heal my out of character breach in behavior. I asked for forgiveness from the other party and, in time, believed the matter was resolved. Beyond my confessor and therapist, I did not reveal this matter, believing that to do so would cause greater harm to my wife Kaye, other persons, and other communities.
A few months ago this matter came to light and was passed to the Presiding Bishop's office. I confessed to Kaye and to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and together we have sought a healing and reconciling way forward. Many people, including you, have been hurt by my behavior and their consequences. I am sorry and I ask for your forgiveness.
Now is the time for healing and reconciliation. Kaye and I have begun our work of healing, and we are on a strong path. I ask that you provide us privacy as we continue to do the work of repairing and strengthening our marriage.
Now I am facing the wider consequences of my actions. Through the canonical process of the church - a process designed to help create healing and reconciliation - Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and I have reached an "Accord", or agreement, that for a period of one year I will step away from my ministry as Bishop of the Diocese and ordained leadership. This period will begin immediately.
We have agreed that this should be a time of repentance, retreat and reflection. It will be a time of healing of hurts. I will spend this time doing whatever is possible to make this right with the Church.
Bishop Michael and I, along with others involved in this process, reached this accord as brothers and sisters in Christ. We agree that this will allow me to return to my ministry as a stronger, healthier Bishop.
During this time away the Standing Committee of the diocese, the Executive Council and our able staff will manage the life of our diocese. A retired bishop will fulfill Episcopal duties in my absence. These duties include, among other things, parish visitations, pastoral care of clergy and ordinations. The diocese will not be asked to support me financially during this absence.
The Standing Committee will plan to provide persons who can help you and your parish deal with concerns raised in this time. Questions should be addressed to Canon Elise Johnstone and The Reverend Peter D'Angio, president of the Standing Committee.
At the appropriate time we will work on ways that I will be reintegrated into our common life and leadership. In the meantime I ask that you keep Kaye, me and our family in your daily prayers, as we will keep you in ours.
We serve a good God. We are a good church. I believe the grace and mercy of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit will see us through the coming days.
Bishop Doug Hahn