Bishop Search 2 of 3

Two weeks ago, I described our diocese and how we relate to the wider Episcopal Church.  Today I will share more about the search process for our fourth bishop. Every diocese has a Standing Committee. El Camino Real’s is made up of four clergy and four lay members elected by diocesan Convention.  They function as a committee of advice for the bishop and would serve in the bishop’s place if she was unable to carry out her duties. Currently a major responsibility of our Standing Committee is to oversees the search and election process. They are assisted by the Office of Pastoral Development from the Episcopal Church Center in New York and by a search consultant.  

An early task in the process for the Standing Committee was developing a profile of the diocese designed to inform and attract priests who might be interested in the position of bishop.  It describes who we are in great detail: our finances; the demographics of our 5 counties; our ministries; the Sargents House built in 1896 in Salinas and restored in 2014 to become our diocesan offices; and ends with a detailed description of our vision summarized by: “We are a diocese living into the future church that doesn’t yet exist seeking a bishop to partner with us.”  The graphics and descriptions in the profile are outstanding. A link to it will be in our Enews and on Good Shepherd’s website.   I urge you to look at it not only to learn about the diocese but also to learn details about our beautiful part of California that might surprise you.

The Standing Committee has appointed a search committee made up of deacons, priest and lay members.  They are currently screening applications, preparing to have video interviews, gathering background checks and eventually will have a discernment conference. A slate of 3-5 candidates will be announced in mid-March.  Others may be added by petition.

Soon after that, the transition committee will take over the process.  This group of 12 clergy and lay members will shepherd the nominees through the process helping them to get to know the diocese, the dioceses to know them and eventually will help the new bishop and family settle in.  By early May we will have the final slate and Good Shepherd’s clergy and lay delegates will have the opportunity to meet the candidates at a deanery meeting, hear them speak and ask them questions. The election convention will be on Junes first.  Once we have made our choice, the Bishops and Standing Committees of every diocese in the Episcopal Church will be asked to give consent. When the majority of consents have been received, we will be ready to celebrate Bishop Mary’s time with us. The consecration of our 4th bishop will be in January of 2020.  What a complicated and worthwhile process!  If you were part of Good Shepherd when we were seeking a new rector, you will remember the tension that we were experiencing.  That is what we are experiencing as a diocese at the moment.

Our responsibility continues to be praying for the committees of our diocese who are working to bring us the Bishop that God intends us to have and to pray for those in discernment about changing their lives by enter El Camino Real’s search process.  Keep the prayers coming.

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