Discerning Together: The Process for Electing Next Diocesan Bishop
Click here or the video above to view a message from the Rev. Matt Wise and Dr. Liz Manning on behalf of the Standing Committee, explaining the process for electing our next Bishop. An overview of the information in the video is in their letter below.
Beloved People of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas,
When a parish embarks on calling a new rector, much work and intentionality goes into that search: the communication of the process and timeline, the formation of a search committee, the creation of a parish profile from gathered input from the whole community, the accepting of names, multiple interviews both virtual and in-person, a search committee vetting and narrowing a list of candidates, and ultimately the call itself. Though we are not calling a new rector or simply "promoting" one of our beloved priests, the Standing Committee has worked to create a similar process that holds the space for us to communally discern alongside candidates/nominees who themselves are discerning a totally new and different vocation.
The Book of Common Prayer states: "A bishop in God's holy Church is called to be one with the apostles...to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ...and to share in the leadership of the Church throughout the world." (Book of Common Prayer, Ordination of a Bishop, pg. 517)
Following this charge during the Ordination of a Bishop service, the Presiding Bishop then asks the new Bishop-Elect, "Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of Bishop?" This question is quite different from the one asked in the ordination of a priest and reminds us that the discernment that led to that moment was done not only by the diocese but also faithfully by the Bishop-Elect.
Taking this ordinal very seriously, the Standing Committee has designed a process that will create space for deep discernment, both for the diocese and for the potential candidates - first apart from one another, and eventually together. By prayerfully and intentionally creating a framework for this discernment, we will widely open the doors for God's Holy Spirit to move among us. The process we are presenting is meant to be transparent, spiritually grounded, and follow a timeline that most other dioceses in The Episcopal Church rely upon.
The Standing Committee is the ecclesial authority canonically charged with designing and holding the election of a bishop. We have taken two steps to ensure broader representation of the whole diocese throughout this process: we have empowered the diocesan Executive Board to craft our diocesan profile and we have invited additional lay persons and clergy to assist the Standing Committee in its role as the Bishop Nominating Committee.*
The call of the Bishop Nominating Committee is to do the intentional and prayerful work of discernment alongside nominees over the next several months. The result is a slate of qualified candidates, any one of whom may be called to be our next Diocesan Bishop. After these candidates participate in diocesan-wide discernment forums, the clergy and lay delegates to Diocesan Council, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will elect our next Diocesan Bishop.
We wholeheartedly trust that God is already at work in our midst, and we look forward to participating in this process with you. We ask for your prayers for our whole diocese as we continue our discernment through the timeline below.
The Standing Committee
Timeline for Electing Next Diocesan Bishop
June - August 2022
Bi-weekly meetings of the Standing Committee
Standing Committee invites Executive Board to create a Diocesan Profile
August 1, 2022
Standing Committee invites additional clergy and laity to assist in their role as the Nominating Committee*
September 19, 2022
Diocesan Profile published
September 26, 2022
Nomination Process opens
October 10, 2022
Nomination Process closes
Nominating Committee conducts interviews of nominees and makes reference calls; background checks conducted
November 1, 2022
Nominating Committee invites selected candidates to Discernment Retreat
November 14-17, 2022
Discernment Retreat - Nominating Committee and Consultant on retreat with selected candidates
December 18, 2022
Final slate of candidates for Bishop Coadjutor published
January 27-29, 2023
Discernment Forums, previously called "Walk-Abouts," will take place in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and San Antonio regions; times and locations to be determined
February 18, 2023
Election of a Bishop Coadjutor at the conclusion of Diocesan Council in Corpus Christi
Consecration of the Bishop-Elect; time and location to be determined
A Prayer for the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas
Almighty God, giver of all good gifts, you have called us to a life-giving fellowship in the Diocese of West Texas: Encourage and build up in us the love of Christ Jesus that we might continue to strengthen the legacy of those who have tended and led this diocese with godly courage; look graciously upon us and on your whole Church; by your Spirit, guide the Standing Committee, the delegates, and the clergy who shall discern the one you call to be a bishop for our diocese; send us a faithful shepherd who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns now and forever. Amen.
Bishop Nominating Committee*
The Standing Committee Members
President - the Rev. Dr. Ben Nelson, TMI Episcopal, San Antonio
Mrs. Nancy Beauchamp, Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi
The Rev. Scott Brown, TMI Episcopal, San Antonio
Dr. Liz Manning, Holy Spirit, Dripping Springs
Mr. Richard Mosty, St. Peter’s, Kerrville
The Rev. Matthew Wise, St. Mark’s, San Antonio
The Assisting Members
Mrs. Thurma Hilton, St. Richard’s, Round Rock
The Rev. Alex Holloway, St. Margaret’s, San Antonio
The Rev. John Inserra, St. Alban’s, Harlingen
Ms. Andrea Knight, Resurrection, Windcrest
The Rev. Karen Morris, Emmanuel, Lockhart
The Rev. Arnoldo Romero, St. James, Del Rio