Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Annual Convention Discusses Past Year, Passes New Resolution
MARQUETTE, Mi., November 2, 2009—

The Diocese of Northern Michigan approved a new process for selecting its next bishop at its recently concluded convention at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Escanaba, Mi.
After lengthy discussion, the convention approved a resolution that adopted a search plan that includes:

Forming a search committee engaged in discernment;

Building on the work of the previous search committee (known as the Episcopal Ministry Discernment Team);

Communicating effectively with the wider church;

Exploring the possibility of working with a search consultant;

Using a broad process to collect the names of potential candidates;

Intending to present multiple candidates to the electing convention;

Using the petition process for adding names to the slate.An amendment to remove the petition process from the search was defeated after two visitors—the Rt. Rev. William D. Persell, retired Bishop of Chicago and assisting bishop in the Diocese of Ohio, and the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees of the Diocese of Los Angeles—urged the delegates to preserve the right to submit petition nominees.“The petition process provides insurance against a search process gone awry,” said Bishop Persell. “It also provides assurance to the wider church that you intend to elect your next bishop in an open and transparent way.”

The search committee will be comprised of two members selected by each of the diocese’s four geographic regions; one member from the Diocesan Council; and one from the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee may also appoint up to three members to ensure that the search committee is representative of the diocese. The search committee will likely begin its work in February 2010.

Persell and Voorhees were among five visitors from across the Church who attended the convention to offer support to the diocese, which has been without a bishop since the Rt. Rev. James Kelsey was killed in an automobile accident while returning from a visitation in June 2007.

The diocese’s previous search for a bishop ended in July when the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, a priest of the diocese, did not receive the necessary consents from the wider Church.

Bishop Tom Ray, who preceded Bishop Kelsey, now serves as Northern Michigan’s assisting bishop. “Bishop Ray has been our rock through all of this,” said Linda Piper, chair of the diocese’s Standing Committee.

On the first night of the convention, the Very Rev. Ernesto Medina, Dean for Urban Mission at Trinity Cathedral in Omaha and clergy deputy from the Diocese of Nebraska, led the convention in a process he developed called “Authority of Generations.” Convention attendees, in small groups, told stories and sang hymns that answered the question, “Where have you experienced God in the past year?” In summarizing the stories told, Medina said, “Fear and painful losses lead to calmness, and to God being present in the transitions of our life. Through our loss we find God’s spirit speaking through us.”

Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor Emerita of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School, was the convention’s chaplain.

The Diocese of Northern Michigan, founded in 1895, comprises 27 congregations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For more information about the diocese, please visit the diocesan website.

No comments: