September 24, 2022
Dear colleagues and friends,
This week, following the Standing Committee’s announcement of the final slate of candidates for Bishop Coadjutor, I wrote to the nominees a note of welcome and of gratitude for their interest and availability to serve in the Diocese of Ohio. The Search Committee has done a wonderful job identifying such qualified priests to stand for election in November.
In my correspondence with them, I wrote of the canonical requirement that, at the electing convention, I will read my written consent to the election, stating therein the duties expected of the Bishop Coadjutor, once she is ordained. As well, I referenced the constitutional requirement that the duration of a coadjutor period must not exceed thirty-six months. I went on to explain my belief that, once the nominees have been selected, both they and the electing delegates ought to know my expectations in both regards, as everyone prepares for the Meet and Greet process.
To that end, I want to share with you what I shared with our nominees regarding those details and my consent to the election when we convene in November at the 206th Diocesan Convention.
Canon III.9(a)(2) of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church requires that “Before an election of a Bishop Coadjutor, the Bishop Diocesan shall read, or cause to be read, to the Convention the Bishop’s written consent to the election. The consent shall state the duties to be assigned to the Bishop Coadjutor when ordained. The consent shall form part of the proceedings of the Convention. The duties assigned by the Diocesan Bishop to the Bishop Coadjutor may be enlarged by mutual consent.”
The canon addresses duties assigned to the Bishop Coadjutor once she is ordained at the end of April. It is my expectation, however, that when she joins the Diocesan Staff as our Bishop Coadjutor-elect sometime before then, she will begin to work with staff colleagues and elected and appointed diocesan leaders in all areas of diocesan ministry. This will include Committees, Commissions, and Trustees of the Diocese, Deans of Mission Areas, and parochial clergy and lay leaders. The Bishop Coadjutor-elect will begin to visit parishes to celebrate, preach, and build relationships with communicants and clergy. After ordination to the episcopate, the Bishop Coadjutor will add episcopal functions to visitations (Confirmation, Reception, Reaffirmation, etc.) and share in all episcopal responsibilities, save those canonically required of bishops with jurisdiction. The Bishop Coadjutor will take either shared or full responsibility for liturgical and remarriage permissions, licensing of lay ministries, parish searches, financial and personnel matters, pastoral care of clergy and their families, and all episcopal duties allowed a Bishop Coadjutor by canon. Per Canon III.9(a)(2), these duties “may be enlarged by mutual consent.”
The duration of the period a Bishop Coadjutor serves before becoming the Bishop Diocesan is, as mentioned above, not required to be determined in advance either of election or consecration. Article II.1 of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church dictates only that “the retirement date of the Bishop Diocesan shall not be more than thirty-six months after the consecration of the Bishop Coadjutor.” It is my intention that the date of my resignation as Bishop of Ohio will be determined by the needs and desires of the Bishop Coadjutor. I expect, therefore, that the duration of the coadjutor period will be modest in length, likely a few months at most, and conclude well in advance of the 207th Diocesan Convention.
I know that you join me in holding our three nominees in our prayers as we move toward their time with us next month and our electing convention in November.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio