Report to the Diocese
by the Bishop Search Committee
Wednesday, July 18
For the past six months we of the Bishop Search Committee have been engaged in mutual discernment with those who applied to explore with us whom God might be calling to be the 11th Bishop of Colorado. Very soon you will see the fruits of those labors in the form of a slate of nominees and, quite naturally, your initial focus is bound to be more on them than on the process by which they came to be nominated. Before you learn who they are, we thought it would be helpful to share with you a brief outline of how we went about our work, and what emerged most important in our thoughts and prayers. As we believe this summary will reflect, this has been holy, demanding, and deeply fulfilling work, and all of us who have been engaged in it are deeply grateful for the trust placed in us by you, the leaders and people of The Episcopal Church in Colorado.
So then, what has our work involved, and what have we been seeking? We began by examining together the scriptural and traditional understandings of the role of the bishop in the life and witness of the church. We spent time in discussion and prayer, identifying both the broader challenges and opportunities facing The Episcopal Church as a whole, and the unique qualities and needs of The Episcopal Church in Colorado as described in the profile and reflected in our own experience. Building on this, we developed a picture of the Bishop we were seeking, always bearing in mind what you, the people of Colorado, said in your responses to the survey and in gatherings where you gave feedback to the Standing Committee and Profile Committee.
Here is the picture we developed, which guided us in our discernment and in what we communicated to those in discernment with us: we believe we are seeking a woman or man of God who is grounded in prayer and spiritual practice, deeply rooted in the story and power of scripture, effective in preaching and teaching, authentic and relatable, blessed with a sense of humor and the gift of hospitality, and able to command the respect of those within and without the walls of the church. We looked also at core competencies essential to successful fulfillment of the duties of the episcopate: skill and experience in managing a large and complex organization, comfort with conflict management and with fundraising, and ability to represent the church effectively in interactions with the media. We looked, also, for leaders who were aware of and proactive about their need for self care.
Over the past many months, we have read through many cover letters, profiles, and answers to written questions. Having winnowed a large initial group of applicants, we conducted numerous interviews by video conference, reviewed follow-up questions, invited a smaller group to a weekend retreat, engaged in extensive conversation with references, and ultimately narrowed our list of top candidates to those whom we will be recommending to the Standing Committee. Each of these candidates, who have been very gracious and enthusiastic in their engagement with this exhaustive process, have undergone physical and psychological examinations and have passed numerous and rigorous background checks.
Upon presentation of this slate to the Standing Committee, we will complete our task in confidence that God will lead us into a bright future with a new leader. We give thanks for the women and men who have presented themselves as candidates for election as Bishop, and to all who have supported us in our work. And we give thanks to you for your prayers throughout this time and to God, whose power, working within us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.