The bishop is considered the “Chief Pastor” of the diocese (a geographical area). In the Diocese of California (that’s us!) we will be electing a new bishop to serve as our leader.
On December 2, our diocesan convention will gather to elect the next bishop. All canonically resident clergy and delegates elected by each congregation can vote. We have four delegates representing us.
On November 4, you will have a chance to meet the three candidates that are running to be our next bishop. This “meet and greet” event will be held at St. James’ from 6:00-8:00pm. It will also be live-streamed should you not be able to be with us in person.
On May 5, 2024, we will consecrate and install our new bishop and she/he will begin leading our diocese.
Since we will be electing a new bishop, it is important to know what a bishop is called to do. The Book of Common Prayer’s Ordination of a Bishop and The Episcopal Church’s Canons outline the duties of a bishop.
The ordination service asks each person if they believe they are persuaded by God to proclaim the Gospel, to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church, to administer the sacraments, to ordain deacons and priests, and to participate in the ordination of bishops. It further asks if they are called to share in the leadership of the Church throughout the world. In her/his daily life, the bishop is expected to be a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ.
Practically speaking, a bishop is to make a visitation to each church every three years as dictated by the canons. On occasion, the bishop may issue a Pastoral Letter to the clergy and people of the diocese and may ask the clergy to read out loud the letter to the congregation. At the diocesan annual convention, the bishop is to report on the “State of the Diocese” and is to include the names of the congregations visited, the number of persons confirmed and received, the names of those admitted into the process to become ordained, and those suspended or deposed from exercising ordained ministry.
One of the symbols of a bishop is a staff, often made of wood. This is similar to the staff held by shepherds as they guide their sheep, ever reminding us that our bishop is our shepherd, leading us into the future to do God’s work in the world.
You can learn more about each candidate at the search committee’s website: https://diocalbishopsearch.org/slate/
Please pray for the candidates, for our diocese, and for a process that is infused with grace and the Holy Spirit, bringing us the person who will partner with us in ministry.