As the diocese prepares to meet in chapters next month to select nominees for the Bishop Search and Nominating Committee (BSNC), our hope is that prior to your January meetings congregation leaders will discuss with their communities the particulars of the search process, including the requirements and opportunities of serving on the BSNC. Our diocese is richly blessed with gifted and insightful people; the consideration of candidates should not be limited to those who regularly attend chapter meetings.
What is the role of the Bishop Search & Nominating Committee (BSNC)?
The BSNC prepares a profile of the diocese, seeks and interviews candidates, organizes and hosts a discernment retreat, and presents a slate of bishop nominees to the Standing Committee. Full availability and participation in all of these activities is a must.
What gifts, talents, skills are needed for the BSNC? There are certain characteristics, skills, temperaments, and capabilities that we are hoping to see in candidates. Many of those are outlined in the above-mentioned letter. In short, we are looking for people who are “citizens of the diocese,” people who identify with more than just their own congregation. We need people who are talented in conducting surveys, who are good listeners, and those who can organize and synthesize information.
This is a process of mutual discernment. We want candidates who are spiritually and emotionally mature, people who understand that there will be times of disagreement, that we’re looking for the best match for the entire diocese, not the “best bishop for me or my congregation,” and who can compromise and make hard decisions. Members of the BSNC must be able to keep confidences and be pastoral to one another and to the bishop candidates.
Finally, as the search and nominating process will be quite lengthy (likely 12 months or more), nominees to the committee must have both time and energy to devote to this endeavor.
Who is eligible to be nominated from the chapters? All lay candidates must be at least 16 years old, and be a confirmed communicant in good standing in the Diocese of Iowa. Clergy candidates must be canonically resident in the Diocese of Iowa. There is no requirement as to what order of ministry the chapter candidates must represent. That said, the Standing Committee will be looking for a balance of orders in the overall makeup of the Committee.
How many people may each chapter nominate? Each chapter is asked to nominate two candidates to be considered for the BSNC. Each nominee is asked to provide a brief biographical/spiritual summary as well as a short statement about why the nominee feels called to serve on the BSNC. We would also appreciate a letter from the chapter stating the qualities and characteristics that informed their choice of candidates. This information should be submitted by January 30, 2020.