Making Disciples | Building Congregations | For the Life of the World
iSeek from the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
The waters of baptism and discernment

Our Canon for Christian Formation, the Rev. Loren Lasch, sat down to a conversation on discernment; what it means to us, how it looks and feels in our daily lives. And how the diocesan discernment conference on the 15th of Sept. fits into this practice.

As followers of Jesus we are called to be a part of the Body of Christ, all God's children. That call invites us to spend some time thinking about, and praying over our own unique gifts and abilities, God given, and how we can use them in the world.

"For so long, people automatically equated discernment with the specific call to Holy Orders," explained Loren, "to ordination as a priest or deacon. But discernment is the work of the people, for all of us who are followers of Jesus. We're called to further the Kingdom of God."

We spend time in prayerful listening to discern where God is calling us to use our talent, not just in a volunteer opportunity, but to make God's love known in the world. "When we look at our baptismal covenant, all our promises," Loren said, "discernment is listening for guidance and exploring ways we can live into those promises. How can I personally, with my unique gifts, how can I uphold my baptismal promises in a world that is desperate to know God's love and care. A world full of people who need to receive respect and dignity and unconditional love."

Discernment happens in community
Christians are additionally called to discernment in the context of their faith community. This concept can be a few steps outside our prevailing culture of 'I did it my way.'

"We are very much people who are made to be in relationship. God came to us in the form of a human to be in relationship, to bring us closer to a relationship with God. We have a sense in the church we're not called to do anything in a vacuum. We worship together, we pray together, we serve together; so it makes sense that we would also listen for the voice of God together," Loren said.

We often hear in discernment stories of being 'tapped on the shoulder' to inquire "have you ever thought about ….."

Practice, practice...
Discernment doesn't happen only at our big moments of transition. "We should be in the constant flow of being open to how God is speaking to us." Loren added, "It is a spiritual discipline. And like learning a language or a musical instrument, you have to practice it."

The practice is important to both the individual and the community. "We have to practice how we engage with the members of our community in helping them to identify their own talents to further God's love for the world. We need to do a better job of tapping on the shoulder."

Conference on Saturday, Sept. 15
This year's discernment conference will offer resources and space for considering and strengthening our discernment muscles. The keynote is the Rev. Melanie Mullen, conference is Sept. 15 and held at Holy Communion Church.

Loren observed that we don't have to show up to the process of discernment with any specialized training or theological background. "Discernment is for every follower of Jesus, in every stage of life. It's a part of our journey."



Are you called to the search for the next
Bishop of Missouri?
  • Apply online by Sept. 22 to become a member of the
    Search and Nominating Committee for the 11th Bishop of Missouri

The Standing Committee is looking for people from across the constituencies of this diocese, lay and ordained, to be members of the Search and Nominating Committee for our next bishop. Lay members should be communicants in good standing at a parish in the Diocese of Missouri. Clergy members should be canonically resident in the Diocese of Missouri.

The role of the Search and Nominating Committee is to prayerfully develop a profile of the diocese, and to search for and nominate those persons best suited to be put forth as candidates for the position of Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.

Search and Nomination Committee members should be possessed of a discerning heart and spirit and be willing to help the committee reach consensus, always keeping in mind accountability to the Holy Spirit and the people of the diocese.

We look for people:

  • with the ability to discern in others a call to ministry

  • with a good sense of humor

  • with a strong work ethic and sense of commitment, and a willingness to commit several hours a week for at least the next nine months

  • who are active members of their parish, with some knowledge of the wider Church

  • with a rich prayer life. Committee members should engage in prayer on a regular basis: individually and corporately, seeking God's guidance in the work of this committee on behalf of the diocese, during this time of transition.

  • with the ability and willingness to work cooperatively with a diverse group of people and who are willing to listen to the opinions of others with an open mind

Membership on this committee will entail a significant amount of work. Members need to be task oriented, and willing and able to follow up on assignments. Good organization and technology skills are important.

If you prayerfully discern a call to this ministry, if you have energy and enthusiasm about this work of selecting candidates for the Eleventh Bishop of Missouri, the Standing Committee hopes you will fill out an online application for membership in the Search and Nominating Committee.

Shug Goodlow, President
Standing Committee of the Diocese of Missouri


Working timeline:

  • September 22 - Applications due for Search/Nominating Committee
  • September 27 - SC begins application review to discern committee
  • Mid-late October - S/N Committee retreat with the Rev. Gary Butterworth, search transition consultant. The Standing Committee will join the beginning of the retreat to commission the S/N Committee members
  • October 2018-March 2019 - Self-Study; Holy Conversations; Surveys
  • March 2019 - Diocesan Profile published
  • Sept 9-13, 2019 - Retreat
  • Sept 16-20, 2019 - Slate of Nominees for Bishop published
  • Petition process begins
  • Nov 4-8, 2019 - Walkabouts
  • Nov 22, 2019 - Election (during diocesan convention)
  • April 25, 2020 - Consecration (God willing) of the Eleventh Bishop of Missouri




At our annual meeting in November, the lay members and clergy of this diocese will elect persons to our governance bodies. Have you thought about nominating yourself or a member of your church?

We'll elect to Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, the Disciplinary Board, and the diocesan members of Cathedral Chapter. You can learn a bit more about the positions in our  nominations flyer.

Want an inside view of the work of Standing Committee or Diocesan Council? Listen to last season's JesusHacked podcasts with Council member Al Ludwig and Standing Ctte member Adam Pearson.

The online nomination form is here.

Thinking about submitting a resolution? Here's a quick guide.

Both nominations and resolutions need to be received by 5 PM on Friday, September 28, 2018.



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