[Episcopal News Service] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has chosen four priests to stand for election as the next bishop of Pittsburgh.
The Jan. 15 announcement opens a three-week period during which members of the diocese may petition to add additional names to the ballot.
The eighth bishop of Pittsburgh will be elected at Trinity Cathedral on April 21.
The preliminary candidates are:
- the Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr., 46, rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Bath, Maine (Diocese of Maine);
- the Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell, 58, rector, Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (Diocese of Massachusetts);
- the Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, 59, rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri (Diocese of West Missouri);
- the Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, 49, rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado).
“I was privileged to spend two days in retreat with these nominees and I could joyfully serve under any one of them,” the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, dean emeritus of Trinity Cathedral and president of the Standing Committee, said in a press release.
The diocese has been without a diocesan bishop since a majority of diocesan members and its leadership voted in October 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church and align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
The diocese is currently led by Provisional Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr., whose three-year term will conclude with his retirement, effective when the new bishop is consecrated. Price was bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Southern Ohio when he was elected.
The diocesan profile describing the diocese’s mission and many ministries, the hopes and aspirations of its members, and the qualities and skills sought in a person who might discern a call to lead as bishop is available here.
The nominating committee received 125 nominations and of those, 62 agreed to be considered as a candidate and provided their resume, a ministry profile, a letter about why they felt called to serve the Pittsburgh diocese, and their answers to essay questions posed by the committee, according to the release.
Twenty-four candidates were selected and interviewed by telephone, 12 were visited by committee members, with eight then invited to Pittsburgh as a group for two days of retreat with the entire Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee unanimously determined which four from that group would be on what the diocese is calling its preliminary slate.
A nomination by petition requires ten signatures from a representative combination of clergy, lay convention deputies and others, along with the consent of the person being nominated. Petition candidates must submit the same materials and undergo successfully that same background checks as required of preliminary slate candidates. The final slate is scheduled to be announced on March 1.
The full slate of candidates for bishop will tour the diocese the week of March 19 and will answer questions in a series of public forums. The location and dates for these are available here.
Because the election will occur close in time to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July, church canons provide for the required consents to be sought from the bishops and deputies at General Convention. Subject to obtaining that consent, the bishop-elect will be consecrated at a ceremony at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh on Oct. 20.
More information about the election process is available in the bishop search section of the diocesan website.