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Monday, January 16, 2012
Diocese Announces Preliminary Slate for Bishop Election
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh takes great joy in presenting its preliminary slate of four priests who will stand for election in April to become the next Bishop of Pittsburgh.
The slate is preliminary because the diocese now enters a short period during which names may be added to the ballot by petition.
The preliminary slate was unanimously recommended by the Nominating Committee and unanimously accepted by the Standing Committee. The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:
The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr. Rector of Grace Episcopal Church Bath, Maine
The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell Rector of Church of the Redeemer Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Kansas City, Missouri
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church Denver, Colorado
The four were selected from an initial field of 125 names submitted to the Nominating Committee last year. Of those, 62 agreed to enter the discernment process. The committee then narrowed the selection over the course of several months through a review of submitted documents, telephone interviews and face-to-face meetings.
“The Nominating Committee involved itself in a prayerful and intense scrutiny of all the candidates. We then carefully listened and discussed with them whom they chose and how they went about doing so. We are all in agreement about this slate and that the committee did an extraordinary job,” said the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, speaking on behalf of the Standing Committee as its president.
An account of how the Nomination Committee went about its work can be found on the web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh by clicking here.
Several priests from the Pittsburgh Diocese decided before the nomination process began that they did not have a calling at this time to the ministry of bishop and would not allow their names to be submitted. For others, that discernment became clearer later on in the search process.
“Each and every candidate that came before us, whether from inside our diocese or from elsewhere, was viewed through the same lens,” said Dana Phillips, the chair of the Nominating Committee. “We applied the same criteria to all, namely the qualifications set forth in the ‘Our Search’ section of the Profile.”
As is customary for elections in the Episcopal Church, the search now moves into a second phase, a three-week period in which the diocese will be asked whether other names need to be added to the ballot. A mode of nomination by petition is provided for if a significant number of clergy and laity of the diocese feel the ballot could be meaningfully enhanced by including an additional candidate who also meets the criteria of the Profile.
“A petition should come after a prayerful discernment about the preliminary slate and as a way to strengthen the slate,” advises Dean Werner.
A nomination by petition requires ten signatures from individuals representing at least three parishes. Four of those signing must be canonically resident clergy, and of the six lay communicants in good standing in parishes of the diocese, three must be deputies to the Diocesan Convention. The petition must also include the consent signature of the person being nominated.
Following the close of the petition period on February 5, 2012, anyone nominated through this process will be asked to complete the same materials and undergo the background checks as required of the preliminary slate candidates. Assuming a successful completion, those nominated by petition will also be included on the ballot.
The final slate is scheduled to be announced on March 1, 2012. At that time, the diocese will publish a detailed set of biographic and background materials for the entire slate.
All candidates on the final slate are scheduled to visit the diocese and answer questions in a series of public forums known as “walk-abouts.” These are scheduled to take place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on:
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 – St. Brendan’s, Franklin Park (Dist. 1)
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 – St. Peter’s, Brentwood (Dist. 3)
Thursday, March 22, 2012 – Holy Cross, Homewood (Dist. 2)
Friday, March 23, 2012 – St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier (Dist. 4)
The 8th Bishop of Pittsburgh will be elected at a Special Convention of the diocese to be held at Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, April 21, 2012.
Because the election will occur close in time to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July 2012, church canons provide for the required consents to be given by the bishops and deputies at General Convention. Subject to that, the bishop-elect will be consecrated at a ceremony at Calvary Episcopal Church on October 20, 2012.
The new bishop will be called to lead a fellowship of vibrant communities united in Christ, who proclaim Him as Lord and Savior. All are welcome in our congregations regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey.
For more information about the search process, visit the Bishop Search section of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh website, www.episcopalpgh.org/bsearch.
Prayerful Discernment Shapes Selection of Bishop Candidates
Fifteen months after Diocesan Convention approved a call for an election, and after long periods of listening to hundreds of people across the diocese, after considering scores of potential candidates, and after much deliberation, discernment and prayer, the diocese is taking a tangible step in identifying those who will be on the ballot to be the next Bishop of Pittsburgh.
The diocesan Standing Committee is about to release a preliminary slate as unanimously recommended by the Nominating Committee. The Standing Committee was also unanimous in accepting the slate.
The naming of that slate, which will be made public after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 15, 2012, is the culmination of the first of two steps in the process to determine those who will stand for election. The second begins immediately, as the Episcopal Diocese enters a period in which additional candidates could be added to the ballot by petition.
“We’ve come to an important point in time, where the diocese as a whole is going to receive the results of the first phase of the process, and where we give real reflection and discernment about whether to engage in the second part,” said the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, Dean Emeritus of Trinity Cathedral and president of the Standing Committee.
Dean Werner calls the work of the Nomination Committee “extraordinary.”
The committee began that work exactly one year ago this weekend, when they gathered in retreat. “Our task is not too big; it is the Lord’s doing,” they were reminded then, and throughout, by their chaplain, the Rev. Don Youse.
In its first six months, the Nomination Committee visited nearly every congregation in the diocese to conduct listening forums. Additional sessions and online surveys were made available to include the widest possible participation. The input the committee received from more than 500 parishioners directly contributed to the crafting of a diocesan Profile. Once published, the Profile resulted in 125 names being suggested to the committee. Of those, 62 agreed to be considered as a candidate and submitted a resume, a ministry profile, a letter about why they felt called to serve our diocese, and an essay that answered questions posed by the Nominating Committee.
To narrow the field, the committee read each of those documents, scoring them, ranking them, and most importantly, praying about them.
“We actually extended that phase of the process by almost three weeks in order to give enough time to really consider the depth of those materials,” said Dana Phillips, who chairs the Nominating Committee.
After 24 candidates were selected for telephone interviews, 12 were then visited by committee members, and eight of those candidates were invited to Pittsburgh as a group for two days of retreat with the entire Nominating Committee. The final selection was narrowed further from those eight.
“I was privileged to be part of the two day retreat for those final eight potential nominees,” said Dean Werner. “I turned to the committee chairperson and told her that I could joyfully serve under any one of them.”
The Nomination Committee is diverse and broadly representative of the entire diocese. Its members are:
Joseph Baird, St. Peter’s, Blairsville Fran Gargotta, St. Brendan’s, Franklin Park The Rev. William Geiger, Christ Church, Indiana Betsy Hetzler, Church of the Nativity, Crafton Virginia Ledgard, St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier The Rev. Canon Dr. Harold T. Lewis, Calvary Church, East Liberty The Rev. Christine McIlvain, Christ Church, North Hills The Rev. Kristian Opat McInnes, St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon Joan Morris, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park Dana Phillips, Chair, St. Thomas, Oakmont John Rogers, St. Mark’s, Johnstown The Rev. Philip Wainwright, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park Patrice Walters, Church of the Holy Cross, Homewood The Rev. Charles Weiss, St. Thomas, Canonsburg Frank Yesko, St. Stephen’s, McKeesport The Rev. Don Youse, Jr., M.D., Chaplain, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, North Side
The election of the 8th Bishop of Pittsburgh will be held at a Special Convention of the diocese to be held at Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, April 21, 2012. In keeping with the spiritual nature of the search process, the balloting will take place in the context of the Eucharist.
The new bishop will be called to lead a fellowship of vibrant communities united in Christ, who proclaim Him as Lord and Savior, and welcome all persons regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey.Dates and Places Announced for Meeting Bishop Candidates
The Transition Committee has announced a schedule of visits to the diocese by the candidates who will stand for election as the Eighth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Participation in the “walk-abouts” is open to all and expected of convention deputies. The visits provide an opportunity to meet the nominees, ask questions and listen to their reflections on topics pertinent to the diocese.
One “walk-about” will be held in each diocesan district. Deputies are encouraged to attend in their home district, but may choose another for convenience. The dates and locations are:
Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2012 – St. Brendan’s, Franklin Park (Dist. 1) Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2012 – St. Peter’s, Brentwood (Dist. 3) Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012 – Church of the Holy Cross, Homewood (Dist. 2) Friday, Mar. 23, 2012 – St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier (Dist. 4)
Each day’s “walk-about” will take place from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The Nomination Committee will present its slate to the Standing Committee for approval and publicly announce the nominees by mid-January. A period of nomination by petition will follow, with the final slate of candidates announced March 1. The election of the new bishop will take place at a Special Convention on April 21.