A proposed structure and timeframe for selecting the next Bishop of Pittsburgh was among the resolutions Diocesan Council forwarded this week to the upcoming Diocesan Convention.

Bishop Kenneth Price has said he would stay on as provisional bishop "until the diocese is ready to elect a bishop." The resolution to be considered next month sets that date for April 21, 2012.

Approval of the resolution would set in motion a process which ends in at least four candidates being presented for election at a Special Convention. They could be nominated in one of two ways: in advance by petition or by a more traditional search process; nominations from the floor are no longer permitted.

Any group of at least three clergy and three lay deputies could petition to nominate a candidate, and all qualified candidates put forth this way would appear on the ballot. Those making the nomination can submit only one petition. The group must represent at least two parishes.

Other candidates can emerge from a Nomination Committee to be appointed by the Standing Committee. The Nomination Committee will be charged with developing a diocesan profile and seeking out potential candidates.

It can also accept suggestions from any individual, including those clergy who put their own names forward.

"This will be as open a process as possible, providing the people of the diocese an opportunity to nominate a potential bishop," said the Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker as she presented the resolution containing the Standing Committee's plan to Council on September 13.

The resolution also calls for a Transition Committee to handle the logistical details involved with presenting candidates to the diocese until one of them is installed as bishop, and allows for the diocese to hire a search consultant. The Board of Trustees has approved using $75,000 of reserved funds for the first year of the search process.

Diocesan Convention must give final approval to the resolution when it meets October 15-16 at Trinity Cathedral.

Once elected at the April 2012 Special Convention, the new bishop would likely take office before the regular Convention in the fall of that year. The Rev. Chalfant-Walker said she has contacted the Presiding Bishop's office to secure a date for the installation.

Other Convention Preparations

At its September 13th meeting, Council also forwarded seven other resolutions to Convention, along with a revised budget plan. These will be published in a Convention Journal to be mailed to all clergy and lay deputies and be made available for public review on the diocesan website.

Convention business will be previewed at three public hearings:

♦  Monday, September 27, 7:00 p.m., St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon
♦  Wednesday, September 29, 7:00 p.m., St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Johnstown
♦  Thursday, September 30, 7:00 p.m., St. Thomas Memorial Episcopal Church, Oakmont
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