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The Call

Vol. 19, Number 18

updated: September 23, 2019

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Delegation invites input for selecting nominees for bishop

The following letter was submitted by the current Holston Conference delegation, pictured above and elected in June 2019.

 

Sept. 25, 2019


The primary work of delegates to the 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference will be the election of bishops. As part of its preparation for next year’s conferences, the Holston Annual Conference delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference has been engaged in a process of discerning potential nominees for episcopal election.

Many people in Holston might be surprised to learn that the delegation does not automatically nominate a particular clergy member of the delegation, for example, the first-elected clergy delegate or the clergy delegate with the most tenure or experience on the delegation. In fact, the delegation is inquiring of eligible clergy regarding their interest, willingness, sense of call, and qualification to serve as a bishop.

The delegation began its process by discussing the characteristics of a good bishop.  Paragraph 403 of the Book of Discipline (2016) states that, in addition to being elders in full connection, bishops lead the church by exhibiting a vital and renewing spirit, an enquiring mind and commitment to the teaching office, a vision for the church, a prophetic commitment for the transformation of the church and the world, a passion for the unity of the church, and the ministry of administration.

Members of the delegation have engaged eligible clergy delegates about their interest in and qualification for being an episcopal nominee. During that time of conversation, the delegation realized the possibility that there are Holston clergy eligible for election as bishop who are not part of the delegation, but who might want to communicate an interest in being an episcopal nominee to the delegation. In the Southeastern Jurisdiction, many episcopal nominees come from the annual conference delegations, but the election process adopted by the SEJ Committee on Episcopacy anticipates and provides for nominations from delegations, annual conferences, and other groups in the life of The United Methodist Church. Our delegation wants to make sure that all interested eligible clergy have access to information about the episcopal nomination and election process used in the Southeast.

At its November meeting, the delegation will be reviewing personal statements provided by potential episcopal nominees giving insight into how each one believes his or her experience, life, and ministry reflect the characteristics listed in Paragraph 403.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the delegation’s discernment process or providing input regarding potential episcopal nominees is encouraged to contact any member of the delegation with questions or comments. Emily Ballard, delegation chair ([email protected]), and Del Holley, delegation member and Conference Lay Leader ([email protected]), are leading the delegation in this discernment process. You are asked to communicate with the delegation before October 15 so that relevant comments can be shared at its next meeting.