Successful Walkabouts Lead to Next Milestone: The Bishop Election
When George Wayne Smith was elected to be the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri on Nov. 10, 2001, Facebook didn’t exist, gay individuals could not be ordained as a bishop in the Episcopal Church and the church had just entered into full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Eighteen years later, the Diocese of Missouri is poised to elect its 11th bishop. It’s passed one milestone—four consecutive days of successful meet-and-greets with three candidates for the episcopate—and is looking ahead to the next. The election happens in 10 days, on Nov. 23—the second day of the diocesan convention.
Looking back to the week of Nov. 4, the three candidates for bishop visited four parishes, encountered more than 525 members of the diocese and shared their vision for the future of the diocese with viewers on four videos streamed live on Facebook.
To date, the videos have had more than 2,260 views—either the live video or recordings, which remain available on the diocesan website. The diocesan transition committee is indebted to Communications Director Janis Greenbaum for making that happen at all four events.
The Rev. Stacey Fussell, rector at Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Bradford, PA; the Rev. Deon K. Johnson, rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Brighton, MI; and the Rev. George D. Smith, rector at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn, IL, visited the four parishes each evening Monday through Thursday. During the days, they visited with diocesan staff members, spoke with Bishop George Wayne Smith, toured various parts of the diocese, worshiped together and engaged in a panel discussion about Ferguson.
Turnout was strong at all four locations: Christ Church in Cape Girardeau on Monday, Trinity in the Central West End in St. Louis on Tuesday, Calvary in Columbia on Wednesday and St. Timothy’s in Creve Coeur on Thursday.
Now that the meet-and-greets—formally known as “walkabouts”—are over, many parishes around the diocese are convening adult forums with parishioners and their convention delegates to discuss the nominees and offer perspectives about their pending votes during the diocesan convention.
The next bishop will be selected on Nov. 23 by a majority vote on the same ballot by both houses at the convention—lay convention delegates who are elected by each parish and canonically eligible clergy who are resident in the diocese. Find a list of eligible voters on the convention page of our website.