[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The 79th General Convention House of Deputies called for a task force to assist the presiding bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development in its work to assist dioceses in the discernment, nomination, search, election and transition processes for bishops.
There was some discussion by deputies on Resolution A147 after Pauline Getz of San Diego, deputy chair of the legislative Committee for Churchwide Leadership, introduced it, saying its intent was to “create a collaborative relationship with the Office of Pastoral Development.”
Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.
Deputy Benge Ambrogi of New Hampshire asked to clarify the “problem we are trying to solve with this resolution.” Getz responded, “Up until now, the process in episcopal elections has been based on what was done before. The purpose of the task force is to clarify the process, help the Office of Pastoral Development define a formal process and structure, and establish clearly what needs to be done in a search.”
Originally, the resolution called for a “Pilot Board for Episcopal Transitions.” The committee amended that language to “task force.” The other change was to alter the proposed length of time the task force would function from six years to an initial term of three years.
Additionally, the new task force will assist the Office of Pastoral Development in establishing guidelines and materials for the training and evaluation of transition consultants who work with dioceses throughout the election process. And, lastly, the members will help enhance “guidelines for reference, background, medical, and psychological screening of persons considered for nomination for episcopal elections and guidelines for the dissemination, evaluation, and record keeping of the screening information gathered.”
— Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer for Episcopal News Service.