OLYMPIA: Bishop Suffragan Rivera to retire in early 2010

August 3, 2009

Saying that she wants to spend more time with her family and give Bishop Greg Rickel "full rein" in the Diocese of Olympia, Bishop Suffragan Bavi Edna "Nedi" Rivera has announced her retirement.

Rivera, 63, wrote in an August 1 letter to the diocese that she will retire at the end of January 2010.

"I have come to believe in my heart that I have done what I was called to the Diocese of Olympia to do. [Diocesan Bishop] Greg [Rickel] brings tremendous gifts to this diocese -- gifts that need to be given full rein," she wrote. "He and I have, I think, a similar vision for the Diocese of Olympia, but we take different roads. I believe his roads are better and more direct. I feel, for the first time in my life, that I am behind the times, slow on the uptake and out of sync with the future. I think I am part of the old order here."

Rivera, who was consecrated as Olympia's first suffragan in January 2005, told the diocese that "it's time for me to spend time with and delight in my children and grandchildren, to read my books, to get some exercise, to cook healthy food and to focus on discerning the future with and for the people of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon."

Rivera was elected May 23 to be Eastern Oregon's provisional bishop. The diocese had been without a bishop since Bishop William O. Gregg resigned in 2007 to become assistant bishop in the Diocese of North Carolina.

Eastern Oregon has about 2,615 active members and encompasses 22 congregations and 69,000 square miles. Created as a missionary district in 1907, the diocese was part of the Diocese of Oregon and became a full-fledged diocese in 1970.

Rivera added in her letter that "there have been funds for the Diocese of Olympia to pay me when I was needed in this diocese. The income budget for 2010 brings a new reality that makes these other longings come into clearer focus."

The diocese had announced on July 27 that its Diocesan School of Ministry and Theology would not operate during the 2009-2010 academic year due to budget cuts and a need to re-define its mission.

Rivera and her husband, the Rev. Canon Bob Moore, plan to move to Cincinnati to be closer to members of her family.

The first Hispanic woman bishop in the Episcopal Church and the daughter of the late Bishop Victor Rivera of the Diocese of San Joaquin, Rivera was ordained to the priesthood in 1979. She served in parish ministry in the dioceses of El Camino Real and the Diocese of California. Before moving to Washington she was rector of St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in San Francisco from 1994-2004.

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