In search of a new bishop

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Missouri.

Finding and selecting candidates to become the ninth bishop of West Missouri will take time. “We need plenty of time to consult, discuss, and discern what gifts, skills, and priorities the Holy Spirit is asking West Missouri to seek in our next bishop,” says Standing Committee President the Rev. Jonathan Frazier, rector of St. Peter & All Saints Episcopal Church in Kansas City.

In the meantime, the diocese still needs a bishop to act as the ecclesiastical authority, provide pastoral support to clergy, ordain priests and deacons, and offer guidance through our bishop search. The solution is for the diocese to employ a temporary bishop, more formally known as a ‘bishop provisional,’ to serve during this process. “The Standing Committee has been working with the Presiding Bishop’s office to find a slate of candidates suitable to be our bishop provisional. We will discern and put forward our recommendation to the diocese well before the Annual Diocesan Convention in November,” says Fr. Jonathan.

The Standing Committee hopes this summer to announce and introduce the selected candidate in New Spirit. A vote will be taken on the appointment of the bishop provisional at the Diocesan Convention, which will be asked to ratify the Standing Committee’s selection. Ratification would take place by a simple majority vote. If the candidate is not affirmed by the Convention’s vote, the Standing Committee will start the process over again.

In the absence of a bishop, the Standing Committee acts as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese to ensure the day-to-day work of the diocese continues.

Once the bishop provisional is in place, he or she will guide us in building trust, improving communication, and resolving “systems” issues, as well as some healing.  We can then begin discerning the Holy Spirit’s direction for the diocese and the detailed work of finding our next bishop.

The Standing Committee has developed an outline Transition Plan, the plan is available/posted on the right hand side of the elevator. “We want to ensure that all members of the diocese have the chance to make their voices heard and the opportunity to take part in the selection process,” Fr. Jonathan said.

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