Q. What’s the difference between the Bishop Search/Nominating Committee and the Transition Committee?
A. The Bishop Search/Nominating Committee is tasked with identifying up to five candidates, each of whom might be a good fit for our diocese. The Transition Committee is tasked with introducing the candidates to the diocese, staging the election during the annual convention, and planning the new bishop’s installation.
Q. When is the bishop's retirement effective?
A. Bishop Wayne Smith will retire as the next called bishop is installed, in April 2020. Until then he remains bishop, but notes that "this announcement alters the trajectory of our work together, and that emotionally, spiritually, and realistically, attention turns to the next chapter in the diocese's life, both in its continuities and its necessary changes. I pledge to honor that shift, and support your work in making it."
Q. So, does the bishop or his staff participate in the search and calling of his successor?
A. Pretty much, no. The bishop sets the call in motion, has chosen the election will be for a bishop diocesan (see note below) and now supports the work of the diocese's Standing Committee who are tasked with overseeing the process. The bishop's staff may offer some support on process to the Committee, but will not be privy to information about the candidates until the slate is announced by the Committee.
Q. Bishop Diocesan, Bishop Coadjutor--explain please.
A. The bishop diocesan is the primary ecclesiastic authority of a diocese. Bishop Wayne is our bishop diocesan. Some dioceses with larger membership or larger geographic region elect a second bishop, or a bishop suffragan. A bishop coadjutor can be the newly elected bishop for a diocese who is consecrated before the bishop diocesan retires. The coadjutor assists the diocesan bishop until they leave. This election is called for the eleventh bishop diocesan of Missouri.
Q. Why does the Standing Committee get this honor/work?
A. In the Canons of the Diocese of Missouri and in agreement with the broader canons of the Episcopal Church, our elected Standing Committee is a council of advice for the bishop, and if for any reason the bishop should become incapacitated, act as the ecclesiastical authority for the diocese.
Q. I'm worried about Bishop Wayne, why is he retiring now?
A. He's in good health and spirit, and at the time of his planned passing of the crozier to the next bishop in April 2020 will be, as he put it, "65 years and some change" which is the suggested age of retirement for bishops in this church. Planning in advance gives sufficient time for a good search and discernment process.
Q. We saw a photo with another purple-shirted bishop with Standing Committee and staff--who is that?
A. Bishop Todd Ousley is the Episcopal Church's bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development and one of his responsibilities is to "provide oversight of the bishop search processes churchwide, which includes providing materials and support for the bishop election process." Bishop Todd worked with Standing Committee and the bishop's staff April 24-27.
Q. So what's next?
A. Visit the working timeline to follow work completed and projected dates and the archive of all articles about this process.