Presiding bishop nominating committee releases churchwide survey, seeks participation by Oct. 31
The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop invites all Episcopalians to participate in a survey. The responses will help the committee develop a profile of the skills, qualities, and gifts the church seeks in its next presiding bishop, considering what the church and world may look like in the next decade.
The church’s General Convention will elect the next presiding bishop in the summer of 2024.
The deadline for completing the survey—which can be found online here in English, French, and Spanish—is Oct. 31.
“We want to hear from Episcopalians throughout the church because their input will help guide us in our nominating work,” said committee member Deborah Harmon Hines, who chairs the profile subcommittee. “The survey is designed to help us all discern some of the characteristics we hope to see in the person we will elect as the next presiding bishop.”
The survey—which takes about 15 minutes to complete—asks respondents to define the most important issues facing The Episcopal Church and the world in the next 10 years, as well as the foremost gifts or skills the next presiding bishop will need to lead the church. Participants are also asked to rank in importance areas of experience for the presiding bishop to have.
The survey includes an open section for additional feedback and ends with optional questions requesting information on age, race, gender, role in the church, and years as an Episcopalian.
Episcopal Church canons (1.2.4) define the presiding bishop as the church’s chief pastor and primate, with duties that include the following:
The presiding bishop is also president of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the name under which the church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out its mission. As chief executive officer of the Executive Council, the presiding bishop oversees a $100 million-plus budget.
The nominating committee plans to release the profile for the next presiding bishop in the spring of 2023 and expects to open the nomination process in late summer. The committee is charged with presenting at least three nominees to stand for election at the 81st General Convention. View the committee roster.
For more information, contact the committee at email@example.com. Follow the committee on the following social media sites:
Uvalde church offers property for child grief counseling center after school shooting
BY EGAN MILLARD
[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal church in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, is offering part of its property to be developed into a new grief counseling center for children.
An underutilized building on the campus of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church & School will become a permanent branch of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, which has been using a room in the church as a temporary work space since the shooting. CBCST is a nonprofit that provides counseling and support groups to children and families that are grieving the death of a loved one.
The small, one-story building has been used by the congregation over the years as a distribution center for free donated clothes and household items, a youth group space and an art and music room for the school.
The Rev. Michael Marsh, rector of St. Philip’s, told Episcopal News Service that it became clear soon after the shooting that the children of Uvalde would need long-term treatment for the trauma they had experienced.
“A lot of students were there when it happened. Even if they weren’t in the classroom or in close proximity [to the shooting], they were affected – knowing what’s happened and going back to school. Some of them had friends that died or were injured,” Marsh said.
But the kind of treatment they needed wasn’t readily available in Uvalde, he added.
“We’ve had a pretty large absence of mental health resources in town for a long time,” Marsh told ENS, “and I was trying to figure out how we could help. I talked to somebody and they said, get a hold of the Bereavement Center because they do really good work. They’re a good organization with credible history.”
At the same time, a parishioner who works as an attorney said the Bereavement Center called him asking how they might get some space in town to set up a counseling center in Uvalde. The room in the church was soon being used for that purpose, as well as other locations around town.
The shooting at Robb Elementary is the third-deadliest school shooting in United States history. The perpetrator, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was allowed to buy two AR-15 rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition due to the lack of gun regulations in Texas.
For the permanent office, CBCST will completely renovate the small building adjacent to the school and church lot. The parish will retain ownership of the land and lease it to CBCST for a nominal sum, Marsh said. The organization plans to use the building for at least five years, he said.
CBCST’s preliminary design for the new building includes counseling rooms, offices, a cozy living room area, two art therapy rooms and a courtyard. Behind the building, the church had already constructed a labyrinth, which will add to the peaceful and reflective atmosphere. It is planned to employ six full-time staff. Marsh said work will begin in late October or November, and the project should be finished by next spring.
Marsh is encouraging donations to CBCST to help cover their costs for the project.
For decades, The Episcopal Church has advocated for legislation seeking to reduce gun violence in the U.S. After the Uvalde shooting, the church’s Office of Government Relations reiterated its call, rooted in General Convention resolutions, for passage of legislation that would restrict who can own firearms, require background checks, eliminate loopholes, tighten laws against gun trafficking, require gun safety training, fund gun violence prevention programs and address gun violence as a public health crisis.
A full list of the church’s positions on gun violence can be found online. Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network for regular updates and to get involved.
– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.