Here's an email I sent out to a number of friends and family members last Friday:
Dear friends and loved ones,
This morning I received a certified letter from the bishop of Oklahoma informing me that, for financial reasons, my position with the diocese is being eliminated and that my employment will be discontinued effective December 31, 2009.
I had already begun the process of petitioning for early retirement and was hoping to qualify for medical retirement. That effort now seems to have been preempted unless there is some legal loophole I don't know about.
I'm confident that I can raise enough money to live on through my work at the Center (St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation here in Tulsa). My big concern, of course, is health care coverage. The law gives me 18 months of extended group coverage if I pay what it costs my previous employer. As of today that cost is $611 a month. After that I am essentially uninsurable privately because of my medical history. I will need to come up with some plan to provide medical coverage for myself until I'm eligible for Medicare when I'm 65. (I turn 60 next month, by the way.)
Well, that's the news, folks! Do keep me in your thoughts and prayers and if anybody has any ideas regarding my predicament, I'll be glad to hear them!Every blessing to you all,
Of course, there's more to this story. The "official" reason the Diocese is giving has to do with budgetary concerns. However the reality is that the new bishop has disliked me from the get go -- for reasons that continue to escape me. It's all very sad.
I will probably say more about this later. For now, this will have to do.
PS: I'm so glad I have Bernice, my new dog!