The Bishop Search Process Begins
As your diocesan Standing Committee, which oversees searching for, electing, and consecrating our next bishop, we invite you to get involved in the process.
Our search website is live. And through it, you can apply for positions on the three committees that will guide us toward the election and consecration of a new bishop. These groups include:
- The Bishop Search Committee, which will lead a listening process to gather information about the diocese’s past, present, and future; create an online diocesan profile; evaluate nominees and applicants for bishop; and present a slate of three to five candidates for election. This committee will be active from mid-November 2023 through early August 2024.
- The Transition Committee, which will introduce the candidates to the diocese and the diocese to the candidates, as well as coordinating the election of a bishop at the 2024 Diocesan Convention. This committee will be active from February through early November 2024.
- The Consecration Committee, which will help the bishop-elect and family relocate to West Missouri (as needed), work with the presiding bishop’s office to plan the consecration liturgy, and plan the details and logistics of the consecration weekend. This committee will be active from February 2024 through the consecration weekend in late April or May 2025 (the most intensive work will follow the election in November 2024).
The Standing Committee is seeking no fewer than 12 and no more than 15 members for the Bishop Search Committee, as well as up to 12 members for the other two committees.
Complete this form to apply for any of the three committees. The Standing Committee encourages you to review the job descriptions in the application and listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to identify which of the committees aligns best with your unique gifts, skills, and availability. You may apply for more than one committee if you discern that more than one would be a good fit. The applications also include the opportunity to apply to serve as a committee chair. If you know of someone whom you believe has the gifts and skills for service on these committees, please encourage that person to apply and share the application link.
The Standing Committee will name the members and leaders of each committee. For all three groups, we will seek diversity that represents our diocese, taking into consideration geography, congregational size, age, urban/rural context, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity/language, disability, and ministry order (lay people, deacons, and priests).
Applications for membership and leadership of the Bishop Search Committee, as well as applications for leadership of the Transition and Consecration Committees, will be open through Oct. 1. The Standing Committee plans to name the Bishop Search Committee members, as well as the chairs of the other two committees, the second week of October. Because the work of the Transition and Consecration Committees won’t begin until early 2024, applications to serve as members of these groups will remain open until Dec. 31, 2023.
For those named to any of the three committees, expenses will be reimbursed. We want to be sure nothing stands in the way of service for those who are called to serve.
You’re also invited to apply to serve as a committee secretary. The secretaries will not be committee members, but they will participate in all the meetings, as well as preparing minutes and providing administrative support. The secretaries will be paid for their hours worked. You may apply to serve as secretary for one, or more than one, of the three committees.
Our diocese is blessed with strong resources to help us follow best practices in designing and executing our search. From a team of search consultants trained by the Presiding Bishop’s Office, the Standing Committee selected the Rev. Canon Brian Nordwick, a deacon who will work with us through the search-to-consecration process. Assisting Deacon Brian will be the Rev. Shug Goodwin, a priest in our neighboring Diocese of Missouri and part of the consultant team.
The Standing Committee has developed a detailed timeline for the search, transition, and consecration process. Here are the highlights, which also appear on the search website:
- Oct. 1, 2023 – Applications due for Bishop Search Committee members, as well as for chairs of Transition and Consecration Committees.
- Week of Oct. 9, 2023 – Standing Committee announces Bishop Search Committee members and chair, as well as chairs of Transition and Consecration Committees.
- Nov. 11, 2023 – Diocesan Convention considers rules and procedures for the bishop’s election (to take place next year).
- Nov. 17-19, 2023 – Joint retreat of Standing Committee, Bishop Search Committee, and chairs of Transition and Consecration Committees.
- Dec. 31, 2023 – Applications due for Transition and Consecration Committee members.
- November 2023 – through February 2024 Bishop Search Committee gathers information and develops diocesan profile.
- February 2024 – Standing Committee names Transition and Consecration Committee members.
- March 1, 2024 – Diocesan profile published; bishop application/nomination period opens.
- March 2024 – Retreat for Transition and Consecration Committee members.
- Early April 2024 – Application/nomination period for bishop closes.
- April through June 2024 – Bishop Search Committee screens and interviews potential bishop candidates.
- Early June 2024 – Discernment retreat for potential bishop candidates.
- Early August 2024 – Slate of candidates announced; nominations by petition accepted.
- September to October 2024 – Candidate visits and other engagement with the diocese.
- Nov. 8-9, 2024 – Election of the ninth bishop of West Missouri at Diocesan Convention.
- November 2024 to March 2025 – Canonically mandated consent period.
- April or May 2025 – Consecration of the ninth bishop of West Missouri.
During the committee application process, the Standing Committee will be drafting the rules and procedures we will use to elect a bishop. Our diocesan chancellor, attorney Mark Galus, will be an important resource in that work. The Diocesan Convention will consider these rules and procedures when it meets this November. Approving them this year will give us a clear runway toward an election 12 months later.
The Standing Committee commits to you that we will stay in touch across the coming 18 months, providing regular updates through the search website, the New Spirit, emails, and other means. The search-to-consecration process is an opportunity for us, as a diocesan family, to continue building the culture of transparency and trust that has been growing through Bishop Provisional Diane Jardine Bruce’s time with us. The Standing Committee wants your questions and feedback, and we will respond to everyone who contacts us. Just as important, we will learn from the input you share and continuously improve the search-to-consecration process even as we live into it. To share your questions or feedback, email the Standing Committee at email@example.com.
Finally, and arguably most important, we offer you a special prayer we’ve written for this process. Please, use it. Pray it yourself, daily. Pray it in your congregation every time you gather for worship. The more explicitly we offer this bishop-search process to God, the more deeply we’ll remember the key element of kingdom “success”: trusting in, and relying on, the Holy Spirit to guide us as Christ’s Body in West Missouri.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Missouri
Dr. Jeremy Chesman, St. James Church, Springfield
Alexandra Connors, St. Paul’s Church, Kansas City
The Rev. Larry Ehren, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Belton
The Rev. Ted Estes, St. Phillip’s Church, Joplin
The Rev. Anne Kyle, Calvary Church, Sedalia (leaving Standing Committee Sept. 1 to join the diocesan staff)
Marsha Patterson, Christ Church, Springfield
Eric Rhodes (Vice President), St. Anne’s Church, Lee’s Summit
The Rev. John Spicer (President), St. Andrew’s Church, Kansas City
For questions about the nomination process or other details regarding the bishop search, contact us by clicking the button below.