[Episcopal News Service] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia released the following message on March 28 announcing four nominees had been selected for diocesan bishop. The diocese has been without a diocesan bishop since Bishop Shannon Johnson stepped down in 2018.
After prayer and discernment, the Standing Committee presents the following slate of nominees for the 14th bishop of the Diocese of Virginia (in alphabetical order by last name):
- The Rev. Joseph Hensley, rector, St. George’s, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
- The Rev. Alan James, interim canon missioner, Diocese of Western Michigan.
- The Very Rev. Gideon Pollach, rector, St. John’s Church, Cold Spring Harbor, New York.
- The Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within The Episcopal Church.
We thank the Bishop Search Committee for their earnest and spiritual work. Embracing the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they faithfully and diligently shepherded the diocese through the search process. The Search Committee had tremendous diversity of race, gender, sexuality, age, geography, clergy and laity, life experience, theological expression, and outlook. They engaged in the search process with integrity and fulfilled the mandate given by the Standing Committee. The committee prayerfully came to the consensus that every person on the slate would make an excellent XIV Bishop of Virginia. For more than a year, they committed themselves to prayerful discernment, purposeful conversations and numerous Zoom calls. We are indebted to them for their hard work and dedication.
The Petition Period is now open and will close at midnight Friday, April 8. The instructions and forms are all available at virginiabishopsearch.org. The Standing Committee will announce to the diocese, after completing a rigorous evaluation process, any qualified petition nominees.
A Special Convention, called by Bishop Susan Goff, will be held on Saturday, June 4, at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. Convention attendance is limited to voting delegates. The event will be livestreamed.
The Transition Committee will hold meet-and-greet sessions around the diocese May 20-24. Some, if not all, of these meet-and-greets will be live-streamed. The Standing Committee strongly encourages members of the diocese to submit questions to the Transition Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Meet and Greet Questions.” These questions will aid in the development of these sessions.
This can be a stressful and anxious time for the nominees. Please refrain from direct and social media engagement with the nominees themselves. In addition, there should be no special forums or parties for any individual nominee. The appropriate way for the diocese to learn more about the nominees is through the meet-and-greet sessions in May.
Please keep our nominees, the Transition Committee, the Standing Committee, and our diocese in your prayers during this time of discernment. If you have thoughts or questions regarding the slate of nominees, please direct them to the Standing Committee at email@example.com.
A Prayer for the Search for a New Bishop
Almighty God, Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, who calls, guides and empowers us as your Church: Create in us discerning minds as we seek to elect a bishop in this diocese. So many issues are open before us; so many wounds that need healing; so many gifts that need celebrating. Bless and continue the good work begun in your name and open our ears to the hurts and hopes around us; broaden our vision to see what we do not want to see; and enliven our hearts with honesty and compassion to do the hard work that lies before us. Guide us as we seek an inspirational leader and willing advocate to help us meet the challenges and lead us to become the people you have equipped us to be in your service. All this we pray through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen
The Standing Committee