8/14/2014

The call for Nominations for Presiding Bishop.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCEP) has issued a call for nominations for Presiding Bishop. Read it HERE.

The Call for Discernment and Profile are HERE.

The JNCEP is to be congratulated on a very good call for nominations. It is an informative and useful introduction to the qualities sought in nominations. It is a very good document.

One qualification :

In the Call for Discernment and Profile the JNCEP states, 

"Canonical Qualifications:
 
The Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons do not set any limitations or requirements on which Bishops of the Church may serve as Presiding Bishop. Any Bishop of the Episcopal Church on the day nominations are received in a Joint Session of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops at General Convention is eligible, subject to being nominated in accordance with the Canons and processes prescribed by the JNCPB" (underlining mine).

The canons, as I read them, indicate that the JNCPB can indeed establish the process used in the Joint Session for receiving nominations from the floor, but it cannot refuse nominations of a bishop from the floor at the time of the Joint Meeting.

The JNCPB has suggested a way by which additional names would come to the Nominating Committee prior to the Joint Session. But if the JNCPB is in any way suggesting that names could not come directly from the floor on the day of the meeting, it has overreached. Bishops and Deputies to this Convention need to be watchful that their perogative - to nominate on the day of the Joint Meeting - not be negated by rules put in place by the JNCPB.

I believe the canons are clear. Any bishop part of the House of Bishops can be nominated from the floor at the time of the Joint Meeting, without prior inclusion in a list gleaned from a hearing or meeting of the JNCPB prior to that Joint Meeting.  

Granted, this bishops only one day in which to satisfy themselves of the appropriateness of particular nominations raised at this last moment. But I have stated before that we need to remember this is not the election of a bishop, but the election of an already ordained bishop to a particular task for a specific period of time. There is no indelible vocational call related to this election. There is no criteria regarding experience that would disallow nomination. There is no requirement for investigation of prior ministry or actions (no background checks). 

The raw, immediate and perhaps surprising possibility of new nominations is build into the canonical process of nomination for election. Given the good work by the JNCPB I believe great nominations will come forward and the JNCPB will choose well from among them for a "slate." Some who they do not select will probably be nominated from the floor, and perhaps some others as well. But my guess is the elected one will be from among the JNCPB recommended ones. But just in case the Holy Spirit, or the workings of the Joint Meeting, or both deem otherwise, let's make sure the floor process remains open.
 

1 comment:

Paul (A.) said...

I concur.

In an earlier post, you quoted Bill Fleener, a member of the JNCEP, as follows:
"Mark as I am sure you know every jurisdiction in the episcopal church has moved away from nominations from the floor. Nominations will be welcome but they must be made earlier in order to allow some background checks. Nominations from the floor do not allow for this. You know that we have has problems with people elected without proper background checks. This is not an attempt to control the process by the committee which I serve on but an attempt to make sure that we do not elect someone embarrassing to the church as has happened in some bishop elections."

My response to that is that if the Committee wants to change the process, change the canons first. Or the rules of order.

For my diocese's most recent episcopal election, we revised the rules of order for the electing convention to allow for nominations from the floor but only of candidates who had completed a background check to be reviewed prior to the opening of the convention.

Following the election, on the advice of the committees that conducted the search process and the election process, we have by amendment to diocesan canons eliminated nominations from the floor at episcopal elections. We do continue to provide for independent nominations after the search committee has proposed their nominees but before the walkabouts that precede the electing convention.