A Connecticut Episcopal bishop and Hartford-area Latino leader has been appointed to head the Episcopal Diocese of Central Ecuador. The Rt. Rev. Wilfrido Ramos-Orench will begin June 1 as provisional bishop, for missionary purposes, of the Diocese of Central Ecuador, which is part of the Episcopal Church USA. Bishop Ramos-Orench resigned as bishop suffragan in Connecticut effective May 31.
After time for personal prayer and discernment, and conversation with Diocesan Bishop Andrew D. Smith of Connecticut, as well as the office of the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, III, Ramos announced his decision to resign from his position in Connecticut and accept the appointment as provisional bishop. He made his announcement March 22, the last day of the regularly scheduled House of Bishops meeting in North Carolina. The House of Bishops voted to accept the resignation. His appointment has been accepted and welcomed in the Diocese of Central Ecuador.
"I'm excited, but sad about leaving," he said, in a phone conversation from the House of Bishops meeting. "I've been so much a part of the life and ministry of the Diocese of Connecticut, I'll miss that. But I'm excited about the challenges of Central Ecuador. It's a rebuilding, a healing ministry, bringing hope, restoring the life of the Diocese. That's what I feel called to do."
Ramos-Orench has served as bishop suffragan (assistant) in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut since October 2000. He has been part of a team of three bishops who oversee the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Connecticut, the fifth largest of 110 dioceses in The Episcopal Church.
The Diocese of Central Ecuador is one of two Episcopal dioceses in the country of Ecuador. Both are part of Province IX of The Episcopal Church.
The Diocese of Central Ecuador has 29 missions, 14 presbyters and two deacons, and its administrative office is in Quito, Ecuador's capital city. They have been without a bishop for a year, as their previous bishop left in 2005 amid financial problems.
Ramos-Orench, 65, is a native of Puerto Rico and lifelong Episcopalian. He is a graduate of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Caribbean and has done further graduate studies at General Theological Seminary. His Doctor of Ministry degree is from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Marling, and their family moved to Connecticut in 1984. They currently live in Bloomfield.
Before his election to the episcopacy in 2000, Ramos-Orench served as a parish priest, a marriage and family therapist, and as a chaplain at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. He currently serves on the Standing Commission on World Mission and the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary and the immediate past president of the Episcopal Urban Caucus.
Bishop Ramos-Orench is widely admired and well-loved, known for his gentleness, wisdom, pastoral gifts, and compassion for the poor. In the Episcopal Church he is a recognized leader in Latino and urban ministries.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, said that "Wilfrido has been a close companion with Bishop James Curry and me in the oversight and leadership and the diocese. Bishop Ramos has nurtured the clergy of our diocese and has extended our mission outreach both within Connecticut and worldwide. Through his initiative our diocese last year launched a new companion relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Colombia. I so appreciate his caring presence and friendship during these past five and a half years. I know that he brings extraordinary and appropriate gifts to the very challenging ministry which he will assume in Ecuador."
Ramos-Orench has said that he intends to continue serving on the national church committees and boards until those terms end. He plans to keep his currently scheduled engagements through the end of May.
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