Eau Claire diocese announces 4 nominees for bishop

By ENS staff
Posted Sep 18, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire announced a slate of four candidates for its sixth bishop. They are:

The search process has run exclusively by application. There will be no nomination process and no petition process.

All candidates will be in the Diocese of Eau Claire for public gatherings, known as “walkabouts,” during the week starting Oct. 7.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 9 during a meeting of the Diocesan Convention in Chippewa Falls.

Under the canons (111.11.4) of the Episcopal Church, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan Standing Committees must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

The sixth bishop’s position will be part time, averaging roughly 20 hours per week. “The ideal candidate will be able to support himself or herself through a part-time position, provide vision for new ways of working in the Episcopal Church, and an energetic spirituality that will nurture the wide variety of people to whom we minister,” according to information posted on the diocesan website.

Eau Claire’s fifth bishop Keith B. Whitmore left the diocese in April 2008 to become assisting bishop in the Diocese of Atlanta. The diocese has since been served part time by Provisional Bishop Edwin Leidel.

The Diocese of Eau Claire includes 21 congregations, most of which are small and rural, throughout the northwestern third of the state of Wisconsin.


Comments (7)

  1. Father Gaylord Hitchcock says:

    A part-time bishop is a creative and welcome response to Eau Clair’s difficulty in supporting a full-time bishop. How good it is that they did not get hung up on that difficulty! And kudos to the nominees (and other applicants) for being willing to embark on this style of ministry, which seems to reflect a welcome awareness of who a bishop really is.

  2. Fr. Jay Pierce says:

    The idea of returning to the original practice of a bishop being the rector of a church, having a small number of parishes / missions to support and lead is functional because of the current ability to concentrate energy and save time through email / conference calls, bookkeeping, communications, publications, the diocese and the various subjects for discussion. The diocese will not be in the dark ages–it will enjoy the new sunlight that has long been forgotten–a bishop that knows, understands and supports clergy as the work together with the laity to present Jesus’ announcement of God’s claim of Kingship of the world here and now, and our devotion and faith in that reality.

    1. Rt. Rev. Douglas E. Theuner says:

      AMEN! to Jay Pierce’s observations!

  3. Fr. Harlan Bemis says:

    A part-time bishop can be a huge step in the movement toward a grassroots, less hierarchical church. It will force the diocese to be abundantly clear about their expectations of their bishop, and, eventually, just as clear about their expectation of priests, deacons and laity. This step is the first step in the critical reorganization of the catholic church. It might even lead to a realistic discussion of small congregation ministry.

    I pray that the bishop who is elected will have his personal boundaries firmly in place not only for his own sake, and that of his family, but to allow the diocese to take up the slack and share the power of the episcopate.

  4. Lisa Fox says:

    I applaud the Diocese for taking a hard look at their mission and offering the opportunity to be bishop while continuing the ministry of priest. Kudos to you!

  5. Fr. Charles W. V. Daily says:

    I will be keeping the diocese in my prayers. I have family there that deserve the best candidate to be the next bishop.

  6. Fr. John Merchant says:

    Just maybe Eau Claire’s new vision of the episcopate will be the first small step for the Episcopal Church at large in moving the ministry of bishop from a business CEO model to a contemporary reflection of the historic episcopate wherein bishops are faithfully and chiefly pastors (especially to the clergy), theologians and teachers, and individuals who, prayerfully and lovingly and joyfully, proclaim the Gospel in word and deed not only to the church, but to this broken world.

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