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  • Mary Palinkos

We're Getting a New Bishop!

Did you know that the Episcopal Church in Connecticut is in the process of getting a new bishop? Bishop Ian Douglas is retiring in October. The Bishop Transition Committee (BTC) has been working to put together a slate of nominees, and this past Monday, we announced that slate.

(I say “we” because I’m one of the members of the Bishop Transition Committee!)

And did you know that the people of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut get to choose the next Bishop Diocesan? No one will appoint them for us; we, the clergy and the lay delegates from each parish, will participate in an election to indicate how we hear the Holy Spirit moving.

Our St. Paul’s delegates will take into account your thoughts about the bishop nominees. Stay tuned about how to make your voice heard.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll highlight different aspects of what I think you, as the parish, need to know as we are all discerning.

This week, I want to share the Bishop Transition Committee’s vision for the new Bishop Diocesan. We (the BTC) wrote this dream for our new bishop after listening sessions across the diocese, trying to give voice to what we heard. I think it’s a beautiful expression of our diocese, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it.

Who We Want to Lead Us

We want our next Diocesan Bishop to have a strong relationship with God and a ministry rooted in the love of Jesus. Our next Bishop should be prayerful, compassionate, and an active listener to the clergy and laity of ECCT. We’re seeking a Bishop who is open-minded, receptive to new ideas, and willing to hear a variety of viewpoints before making decisions. We want someone who is welcoming of all people; someone who is approachable and respectful; someone who is personal and transparent; someone who is present and visible throughout ECCT; someone who is an energetic, inspiring visionary and who can lead us as God’s people in the Twenty-First Century. Our Bishop will be an inspiring preacher who possesses excellent oral and written communication skills.

Throughout the discernment process, we heard time and again that our congregations want their next Bishop to have extensive parish experience in order to understand and appreciate what is both universal and unique among our parishes. We also seek a Bishop who will care for the pastoral needs of our clergy and laity. We want our Bishop to be a champion of spiritual wellness.

Our next Bishop should have a strong moral compass and be unafraid to take a stand on difficult issues. We hope our next Bishop will increase the visibility and impact of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut by working with our interfaith partners and government agencies. It is important to us that our next Bishop continues ECCT’s commitment to social justice and antiracism as a primary part of our call to be followers of Jesus Christ. We believe it helpful for the next Bishop to possess conflict resolution skills.

Given the complexities of today’s world and the challenges of doing God’s work, it is imperative that our next Bishop possess self-awareness and know their skills and limitations. They must have the ability to build strong teams and the acumen to seek out assistance in areas where they are challenged. They must be a good example for ECCT’s clergy and must be committed to their own spiritual life and practice healthy and appropriate boundaries of self care, including taking Sabbath.

Our clergy are excited for a leader who can help them dream up new ways of being church together—especially in the face of declining membership and declining numbers of clergy. They hope their next Bishop will be someone who can listen to them and help them find new, creative structures of church leadership.

If this feels like you—or a new version of you that the Holy Spirit is calling you to step into and become—please go to our BTC website to apply. Blessings on your discernment process, and when the time is right... We can’t wait to meet you!


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