I wrote earlier that I had neglected my blog because I was sick for most of June. That is true.
Note the scenic location of my recent vacation:
But that’s not the only reason I haven’t been blogging lately. The other reason is that I am spending online time another way: as a member and communications coordinator of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan’s Bishop Search Team. Among other things, I have learned how to design and build a better website. And of course, the Bishop Search website requires regular posts… which are taking priority over posting here. It’s been a huge learning curve and a lot of fun. (For those who are curious: we’re still developing our Profile. But we definitely want to hear from you this fall.)
Along the way, I’ve come up with a question. Let me show you another picture, and you’ll probably see what I mean:
This is a page from the “Education” section of the manual our search team received as we began our work.
Please note: although I am about to criticize this manual, I have the greatest respect for the work of this office. They have many urgent priorities and only two (or three?) staff people, one of whom appears only to focus on diocesan reorganization. Here’s their most recent report:
This appears to me to be the type of office that is constantly responding to situations which can only be described as emergencies. Having once served as the only pastoral care minister for a congregation of more than 600 ASA, I am all too familiar with emergency-oriented work environments. I have only compassion and gratitude for the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews and Linda Emory’s ministries. I have a feeling they are putting out fires every day and don’t get a chance to do much more. (Why is this office so short-staffed? General Convention is coming right up… someone could do something about that. I’m just sayin’.)
Nonetheless, as someone currently engaged in discerning God’s call for the episcopacy of our diocese, I am disappointed in what I’ve got here. The page above is a list of resources that search teams should use to educate themselves and their dioceses about the life and ministry of a bishop. Notice:
- This is a three-ringed binder. No electronic copy of this resource is available.
- The resources are largely from the 1990′s… twenty years ago.
By contrast, you are viewing this page through the internet which enables me to hyperlink you anywhere I like in an instant. It would be infinitely more useful to have a “Raising Up Episcopal Leadership” manual that could do the same. A video that explained the history and purpose of the episcopacy and could be used in parishes as an educational tool would be good too. Much better than this:
The College of Bishop’s Episcopal Transitions and Elections Project says the process for Episcopal elections and transitions is reviewed once per decade. According to that schedule, the next significant review will occur in 2017. My three-ring binder was last revised in 2007, during the most recent review.
This postcard made me think. For Episcopalians, the processes through which we discern a call to the episcopacy are critical to our vitality. Taking good care of them is a commitment to our institutional health.
So much of our ministry is a commitment to the health and well-being of others.
Isn’t it time we made that commitment to ourselves…
by updating the materials we provide Bishop Search committees BEFORE 2017?
I’m headed to General Convention as an observer and volunteer next week. I’ll be there from July 9th through the 12th. (I certainly hope the Acts 8 Moment we’re praying for will be in process.) I will be asking whether these resources are headed for a digital update (assuming I can find the right people to ask).
I hope that this decision has been made and the work is in process. There’s no reason I would know about it, if so. Do you? If you do, please tell me in the comments. There is nothing I would love more than to have egg on my face because a new version of the manual is about to be released and this whole post was mere blather.
Meanwhile, would you pray for the discernment of the Diocese of Western Michigan and our–as yet unknown to us–next bishop?
Good to meet you! I’m Nurya…
Welcome!Here, a mother and priest chronicles her attempts at practicing resurrection. This sometimes involves small children and organizations known as "church." Other times it just means telling the truth. Occasionally chickens are mentioned. Click "About" for more...
Praying Day by Day
Looking for something?
- RT @danieloftheway: The Rev. Whayne Hougland is the bishop elect of the Diocese of Western Michigan. Let us pray for him and us as we prepa… 6 hours ago
- RT @StJohnsEpisGH: Announcing the Ninth Bishop-Elect of Western Michigan. Congratulations and prayers for our Bishop-Elect, Whayne,... http… 6 hours ago
- Still on the iPhone and headed home. #EDWM 6 hours ago
- Wow thanks everyone for the RTs and responses during #EDWM tweeting. I was working from an iPhone so I am just seeing them now. 7 hours ago
- Bishop-elect Hougland speaks to convention via phone and honors other 3 candidates #EDWM 7 hours ago