An Outline of The Bishop Search Part 1 of 3

Bishop Mary and Mary Challis Roberts serve Communion to Good Shepherd Spring 2017.

Bishop Mary and Mary Challis Roberts serve Communion to Good Shepherd Spring 2017.

Author: Dottie Fuller

n the recent annual meeting, we elected 5 of us to be Diocesan Delegates.  Normally that means representing Good Shepherd at deanery meetings and at the annual fall convention.  This year it also gives us the privilege and the heavy responsibility of electing the fourth Bishop of El Camino Real (ECR).  Our diocese is made up of 5 counties: Santa Cruz, Monterey, SLO, San Benito and a portion of Santa Clara. In that area are 47 Episcopal congregations.  Our northernmost congregation is All Saints, Palo Alto and our southernmost is St. Barnabas, Arroyo Grande, who proudly call themselves the southern entrance to ECR. Most of our congregation are parishes like Good Shepherd (GS); a few are missions, meaning that they are partially dependent on the diocese for financial aid.  Part of GS’s annual budget goes to support the diocese. Part of ECR’s budget goes to support The Episcopal Church where we are one of 109 domestic and foreign dioceses, the latest of which is Cuba. We at GS are part of something much bigger than our beloved parish.

In March of last year, Bishop Mary asked the diocese to begin the process of electing our 4th bishop.  I, along with many in this diocese, read that announcement with shock and a heavy heart.  In keeping with our bishop’s leadership, she outlined immediately the total process and assured us of her continued full participation in our diocese.  We expect the consecration of our next bishop to take place in January 2020. By then, Bishop Mary will have served us for 13 years. The average bishop’s term is 9 years.  We give thanks for her time with us and how she has helped us to grow and to develop.

Next week, I will talk about what already has been done by the standing committee and the search committee.  Our current responsibility as a congregation and as individuals is to pray for wisdom and spiritual guidance for the search committee and for the priests who are in discernment about entering ECR’s Bishop search process.

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