Commitments by the Standing Committee in West Missouri’s Bishop Search
December 13, 2023
As members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Missouri, we understand that our duty is to oversee the process of electing and consecrating our next bishop. In order to avoid any appearance of favoritism, to provide a productive climate for the entire process, and to model appropriate behavior for the diocese, we commit ourselves to the following, with God’s help:
* We will not nominate candidates or serve as references for candidates.
* We will not sign petition paperwork for candidates.
* We will maintain confidentiality about sensitive information that comes before us.
* To avoid the appearance of favoritism, we will not express our personal opinions about any of the candidates outside our meetings. We will refrain from conversations that could be interpreted as lobbying for or against any candidate. After the slate is announced, we will not engage in private conversations with candidates.
* We will complete promptly the tasks that are assigned to us in the process.
* We will support diocesan staff with a pastoral spirit.
* Recognizing our diocesan leadership role, we will speak positively and optimistically about the transition process and our diocesan future, even as we say goodbye to our bishop provisional. We will refrain from gossip and speculation, and we will discourage it when we hear it from others.
* We commit ourselves to a supportive relationship with the Search and Transition committees. If we have specific wishes or desires, we will communicate these early in the process. We will respect the dignity of members of these committees by allowing them to fulfill their duties independently.
* We understand that once the slate is announced, we will share the responsibility with the Transition Committee of supporting candidates and their families with a pastoral spirit, recognizing the personal sacrifices of time and energy they will have made.
* We understand the importance of clear, regular communication throughout the process — with the diocese; with the Bishop Search, Transition, and Consecration Committees; and, after the slate is announced, with the candidates and other applicants.
* Once a bishop has been elected, we will intentionally thank the candidates not elected and will express our appreciation to them for offering themselves as candidates.
* We understand that our words, both written and spoken, as well as our actions as a Standing Committee affect the entire Episcopal Church.
All this we covenant in the name of the living God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Missouri
Dr. Jeremy Chesman, St. James Church, Springfield
Ms. 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. Canon Robin L. James (Vice President), Grace Church, Liberty
Ms. Marsha Patterson, Christ Church, Springfield
Mr. Eric Rhodes (President), St. Anne’s Church, Lee’s Summit
The Rev. Ron Verhaeghe, Christ Church, Warrensburg
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