Diocese awaits consents for bishop election
Story submitted by Kurt Greenbaum,
Transition Committee member
When delegates from the Diocese of Missouri’s parishes and ministries voted for a new bishop among three candidates in late November, the process of seating our 11th bishop wasn’t over. Instead, think of it as a second beginning.
While planning continues for the ordination and consecration of Bishop-elect Deon K. Johnson on April 25, another process peculiar to the Episcopal Church is humming quietly in the background. It’s known as the consent process — and it means exactly that. Other governing bodies and bishops throughout the global Episcopal Church must consent to the election.
On Dec. 18, documentation about Bishop-elect Deon’s election went to 111 Episcopal Church diocesan or provincial standing committees — 100 in the United States and 11 in other parts of the globe. The documents also went to the bishops of the church. Both groups have 120 days to return a decision to consent to the election — or not.
“We don't just consecrate bishops for the diocese,” said The Rev. Dawn-Victoria Mitchell, president of the standing committee for the Diocese of Missouri. “They're also part of the greater Episcopal Church.”
That’s the reason for the broader consent process. Our diocese is collecting consents from other standing committees and the general secretary of the Episcopal Church is gathering consents from bishops. A simple majority of the standing committees and bishops must consent for the election to be validated. The process remains quietly in the background until the presiding bishop’s office announces the results.
Bishop elections are rarely invalidated in the consent process.
Mitchell said one purpose of the process is to ensure bishop elections are fair and open. Our diocese mailed packets to the other standing committees that included documents announcing the election and the results and responding to several standard questions about the process: Were diverse candidates represented? Was it a fair and open election process? Were minorities and persons of color allowed to apply? The packet also included Bishop-elect Deon's biography.
“For the most part, we do give consent,” said Mitchell, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal. “We did — once in my tenure — not give consent. That was for the election in Haiti which was clearly not a fair and open election. There was voter intimidation of the delegates.”
Diocese of Missouri notified
of successful canonical consent process
Bishop-Elect Johnson ordination and consecration on April 25, 2020
[February 13, 2020] The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri has received notification from Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and Registrar of General Convention, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, that Bishop-Elect Deon Kevin Johnson has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process detailed in Canon III.11.3.
In giving consent to his ordination and consecration, Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction attest to knowing of “no impediment on account of which” Bishop-Elect Johnson ought not to be ordained as bishop, and that his election was conducted in accordance with the Canons.
The Rev. Deon Kevin Johnson was elected Bishop on November 23, 2019. His consecration and ordination service will be on April 25, 2020.