Encouraging news from the bishop search and transition teams
A good number of priests have applied for Bishop of Missouri and interviews are beginning. And we’ve secured locations and dates for the November walkabouts and April 2020 ordination and consecration of our next bishop.
These are recent significant accomplishments by the two committees charged with recruiting candidates for and organizing the transition to the new shepherd of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.
For the Search/Nominating Committee—16 members tasked with developing the diocesan profile, soliciting applicants, vetting candidates, and presenting a slate—the process has entered the late innings. Deborah Nelson Linck, committee chair, said the committee has sifted the written applications through a “prayerful, thoughtful, and intentional process.” That included a systematic review of the traits—including compassion, energy, pastoral leadership, and conflict resolution skills—each prospect would bring to the diocese.
Linck said the committee pushed back its application deadline two weeks because as the first deadline approached, a fewer than expected number of applications had been received. As it turned out, applications postmarked on the deadline date flew in, but the additional two weeks added more to the mix. The committee was ultimately very happy with the interest the diocese received.
“We have a sufficient number of applicants, diverse and Spirit-filled, that match the qualities sought by the people of this diocese. It’s what we were looking for and what we're pleased with," Linck said. The final deadline was June 21.
The Search/Nominating Committee is now pressing toward the next milestone: After a series of interviews by video call—interviews that are starting now—a smaller group of prospects will be chosen to come St. Louis Sept. 16-19 for a retreat with the search committee and other diocesan officers. Two days after that, the committee will discern a final slate of candidates. The slate will then be presented to Standing Committee during their September 26th meeting.
Transitioning to the transition
Meanwhile a second committee has ramped up the work of the transition to the new bishop. The Transition Committee is charged with hitting all the milestones after the slate of bishop candidates is published. That includes planning the election at the diocesan convention, celebrating the ministry of Bishop George Wayne and Debra Smith and preparing for the installation, consecration, and ordination of the new bishop.
Locking down that date and location was the transition committee’s top priority. The diocese will welcome its 11th bishop on April 25, 2020, in a ceremony at St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Parish in St. Louis. The church shares grounds with the Polish Heritage Center, which will host a celebration reception the day of the new bishop’s ordination.
- The Rev. Paul A. Metzler has agreed to serve as chaplain to the final candidates.
- The location of four meet-and-greet sessions from Nov. 4-7 are set. These sessions give members of the diocese a chance to meet and learn from each candidate for bishop prior to the election at the diocesan convention Nov. 22-23. These meet-and-greets—often referred to as “walkabouts”—will be at St. Timothy’s Creve Coeur; Trinity Central West End; Calvary Columbia; and Christ Church Cape Girardeau. Stay tuned for specific dates and times for each session.
- Watch for fundraising messages from the transition committee soon. The committee is offering the opportunity for diocesan members to contribute to gifts of gratitude for the ministry of Bishop George Wayne and Debra Smith.
- Watch, also, for information about a celebration of Bishop Smith’s leadership planned for March 28th at Christ Church Cathedral.
Bishop search and transition information is online at diocesemo.org/bishopsearch
--Kurt Greenbaum, member Transition Committee