Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Episcopal Election 

Exciting times in the Diocese of SW FL. Yesterday morning the slate of 3 final candidates for the fifth bishop of my diocese was announced: Robert S. Dannals, Jacob W. Owensby, and Dabney T. Smith. I remember vaguely when our current Bishop was elected, but I was too young to really care then. As I read their bios and some selections from their essays, I began to reflect on what "bishop" meant to me.

For as long as I have cared, the only Bishop I have ever known was and is John Lipscomb. For better or for worse, when I think of "bishop," I think of John. He has been an excellent bishop to me and, I believe, for our diocese. He was my shepherd when I needed one the most: in the beginning stages of my ordination process. In a diocese that had no idea how to handle an 18 year old who stated emphatically that he was called to ordained ministry, Bp. John took me under his wing. He sheltered me from nay-sayers; he protected me from processes that didn't understand how to deal with a college student aspirant; he prayed for me; he greeted me whenever I saw him and I got the sense that he knew me; best of all, in the business world of southwest Florida, where I was and am known as Rusty Whitley's son, someone recommended my father to him for some financial work and he said, "Is that Ryan's father?" So, when I think of Bishop, I think of John. He heard my call as clearly as I did and he has and will ordain me.

I don't know what the future holds for my conception of "bishop" or for this diocese. God knows. God has already called the next bishop - now the work remains for us to together discern that call. I've spent some time in the blogosphere reading what others have said about the candidates, their experiences of them, both personally and impersonally, and I would welcome your input, if you know or have experiences with them. If you do, or if you do not, would you pray with us for the gift of discernment of the Holy Spirit as we consider the episcopacy of our diocese?

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on our Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop coadjutor for this Diocese that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries. Go before us, Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor and further us with your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name now and always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


This is a powerful and spirit filled time you and your diocese are in my prayers

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 PM  

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