Right Rev. James Mathes announced his intention to resign as the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego on Monday.
After 12 years as bishop, Rev. Mathes plans to transition to associate dean of Virginia Theological Seminary in approximately four months, according to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.
As a former teacher, his career change is “a natural fit,” the church said.
Mathes was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of San Diego in 2005, during a time of division within the church regarding women’s and LGBT rights.
Since then, he created a diocesan school for ministry, an outreach center for San Diego’s needy, and started a development fund for the clergy, according to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.
“Certainly there were times when were divided, as was the whole church, on issues such as human sexuality,” said Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas, canon to the ordinary in The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego in a statement to the Church. “But through it all he continually reminded us to seek the will of God in all things. As a result we are in a much stronger place."
When Mathes leaves his position, the Church standing committee, made up of eight leaders from the diocese, will oversee his job while searching for a new bishop.
The process of finding a new one could take up to two years, according to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.