"I want to come directly to the point," Howe told the group gathered at St. George Church and La Hacienda Recreation Center in The Villages, Florida. "The final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation was entitled 'All Good Things' with the unmistakably hidden clause 'must come to an end.' I have come to the conclusion that we are nearing such a moment."
Bishop Howe called for the election of his successor, the fourth bishop of Central Florida, in a special convention to be held Nov. 19 at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando.
"These last two-plus decades of my life have been a roller coaster of joy and sorrow -- but mostly joy -- as we have seen God work in our midst in extraordinary ways," Howe said. "I came here after 13 and a half years in one of the truly great congregations in the Episcopal Church. And, as every bishop will tell you, leaving your parish family behind is a very difficult thing to do."
Howe stressed that although the diocese will experience a change in leadership, it should maintain the direction it has taken during his tenure.
Under the direction of the Standing Committee, the search for Howe's successor will begin immediately, and will include a diocesan survey, diocesan profile, nominations, background checks, election and consecration.
"I told the Standing Committee last month that my love for this Diocese is so exquisite that it hurts," Bishop said in closing his address. "If I could somehow, miraculously, make it all happen all over again I would do so in a heartbeat. Thank you for honoring me, and supporting me, for these past 21-plus years. I love you, and I pray that as 'all good things…' begin to wind down they may wind up giving birth to even greater things in this great Diocese of Central Florida."
The Diocese of Central Florida, based in Orlando, is a community of about 38,000 baptized members at 88 parishes and missions in 15 counties.