If you have questions about the search process for the next bishop, you’re not alone. Likely, the questions on your mind are being asked by others, too.
The Nomination Committee chair, Dana Phillips, has compiled some of the common questions being posed by parishioners as members of the committee visit each congregation in the diocese. A PDF of the following Q&A is available here.
Q: Does the Nomination Committee select the new bishop?
A: The answer, simply, is no. This question is one of those most frequently asked at the forums. These sessions are being held across the diocese to gather input for a Diocesan Profile the committee will publish by mid-August 2011. The job of the Nomination Committee is to develop a slate of at least four well-qualified candidates based on the skills, qualities and attributes that will be laid out in the Diocesan Profile. The new bishop will be elected by the clergy and by the parish deputies who are currently being chosen to serve at the 2011 Diocesan Convention. They will gather again on April 21, 2012, for a special convention to elect the new bishop.
Q: Will the Nomination Committee select, or will it rule out, women, African-American, Hispanic or other minority candidates?
A: The Nomination Committee has not selected or ruled out anyone at this point. Each and every potential candidate will be screened against the skills, qualities and attributes listed in the Diocesan Profile.
Q: When can nominations be submitted?
A: Once the Profile is released in mid-August 2011, nominations for individuals who meet the qualifications are encouraged. The Profile will be broadly distributed throughout our diocese and across the Episcopal Church in order to reach a diverse pool of potential candidates. Parishioners in the Pittsburgh diocese are encouraged to suggest names. The Nomination Committee hopes to begin its screening in mid-September 2011 with a pool of 40 or more potential candidates.
Q: What if I want to nominate someone who does not initially appear on the slate?
A: After the slate put forward by the Nomination Committee is announced in mid-January 2012, there will be a three-week period where additional candidates can be placed on the ballot by petition. Petitions must be signed by at least ten individuals. Of these, four must be canonically resident clergy; at least three must be lay deputies to the Diocesan Convention; the others must be laypersons in good standing in a parish of the diocese. Together, the signers must represent at least three parishes. An individual may sign only one petition.
Q: Can candidates be nominated from the floor of the Convention?
A: No. All candidates, whether presented by the Nomination Committee or placed by petition, will be subject to the same background checks and be asked to submit the same materials in order to be listed on final slate. Because adequate lead time is needed to complete this process, no floor nominations will be allowed.
Q: What role does the Presiding Bishop play in the process?
A: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted our invitation to preside and serve as chief consecrator at the installation of the 8th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on October 20, 2012. She will be joined by two or more co-consecrators who will be selected by the bishop-elect.
Questions and comments can be addressed to the Nomination Committee through its chair, Dana Phillips, at firstname.lastname@example.org.