January 16, 2015

Dear Diocesan Sisters and Brothers,

May the light of Jesus Christ shine brightly in your lives during this blessed season of Epiphany!

With prayer and a commitment to consensus, the Standing Committee is working with our Bishop Search Consultant, Lynn Schmissrauter, to keep the search process for our next Bishop Diocesan moving forward. On January 11, we met to plan the critical task of appointing the two committees that will have significant responsibilities from now until the ordination of our next Bishop Diocesan.

The Bishop Search/Nominating Committee will be comprised of approximately 12-16 people. Some of the committee’s tasks will be to gather information from throughout the Diocese to create a profile of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, receive the names of potential candidates, undertake a thorough process of interviews, discernment, and background evaluations, and present a slate of nominees to the Diocese for an election in 2016.

The second committee, the Electing/Transition Committee, will be tasked with the responsibilities of introducing the nominees to the Diocese, preparing for the election, and conducting several post-election tasks, including the ordination and the transition of the new Bishop and his/her family to the Diocese. This committee will be somewhat larger than the Bishop Search Committee due to the wide scope of its responsibilities.

The purpose of this letter is to share with you briefly the characteristics we believe will be important for members of both committees, and further, to invite you to consider whether you may be called to prayerfully offer yourself as a potential member of either of these two committees.

Bishop Search/Nominating Committee

The Bishop Search/Nominating Committee will serve for a period of approximately twelve months. Beginning with a planning evening/day with the Consultant, members of the Electing/Transition Committee, and the Standing Committee, their confidential work will include:

  • Developing a Diocesan Profile after conducting self-study work throughout the Diocese.
  • Communicating clear and regular updates to our Diocesan family on their progress.
  • Receiving confidential nominations of persons who would like to be considered potential candidates for Bishop.
  • Interviewing potential nominees and references.
  • Performing appropriate and thorough due-diligence and background investigation of each of the potential nominees.
  • Prayerfully considering all the candidates, and presenting a slate of not less than three, nor more than five, final nominees.

This committee will require a significant commitment of time. During certain phases of their work, they will likely meet weekly and be expected to do a large amount of reading and other preparatory work. Because of the importance of this work, it is necessary that each committee member is:

  • A baptized, active communicant in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, or a clergy person who is canonically resident or licensed in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
  • Someone whose personal life is one characterized by a deep level of faith and prayer.
  • Someone who appreciates the diversity within our Diocesan family.
  • Someone with an understanding of Church polity, and some level of participation in Diocesan life.
  • Someone who has taken, or who is willing to take, the Diocesan Anti-Racism training and the Safe Church Training.
  • Someone who is comfortable with a collaborative and consensus-driven decision making process.
  • Someone who can and will maintain complete confidentiality throughout and after the completion of the committee’s work.
  • Someone who will make a commitment to attend all meetings, and, if necessary, travel outside the Diocese for interviews and other responsibilities.

Electing/Transition Committee

The Electing/Transition Committee will conduct most of their work behind the scenes until the introduction of the slate of candidates by the Search Committee. They will then lead the process until after the ordination of the new bishop.  This committee is likely to be larger in number of members.

The specific tasks of this Committee are:

  • To continue effective communication with the Diocese on timeline, events, and so forth.
  • To provide support for Bishop Daniel and the staff during the transition.
  • To plan the “walk-abouts” – the events introducing the candidates to the Diocese prior to the Electing Convention.
  • To assist in planning the Electing Convention.
  • To plan the celebration honoring Bp. Daniel and his wife.
  • To support and provide assistance for the Bishop-Elect and family (this will likely include such things as helping him/her find appropriate housing, orientation to our communities, and so forth).
  • Plan and organize the ordination and Diocesan celebration.

Candidates for this committee would share many of the characteristics of Search Committee members.  However, this committee would be more involved in organizing specific events and completing certain specific tasks. Therefore people who enjoy planning and conducting these events would make excellent committee members.

The Standing Committee is responsible for the appointment of individuals to both committees. If you believe you have gifts that would enable you to serve faithfully and effectively on one of these committees, please review and submit the requested information on the Nominating Form. Please note that on that form, in addition to the requested information, there are also requests for references. Please note that all nomination forms and reference forms must be received by the Standing Committee no later than February 14, 2015 and are on the Diocesan website at these links: https://diopa.wufoo.com/forms/bishop-search-committee/ and https://diopa.wufoo.com/forms/letter-of-reference/. The Standing Committee expects to fill both committees no later than March 1, 2015. Both committees will be commissioned at the evening/day planning session with the Consultant and Standing Committee in March. At that time the Search Committee’s work will then begin.

We want to thank you for your prayerful consideration of whether God may be calling you to serve on one of these committees. And we also thank you for praying for our Diocese during this exciting time.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

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