The Reverend Canon Ruth M. Woodliff-Stanley was elected Saturday, May 1, 2021, to be the fifteenth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina during a Special Meeting of Convention held for the purposes of the election. Once consecrated in October, Bishop-elect Woodliff-Stanley will be the first female to serve as bishop in the more than 200-year history of the historic diocese.
Woodliff-Stanley, who currently serves as Canon for Strategic Change for the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania & Western New York, and the Senior Vice President for Strategic Change with the Episcopal Church Building Fund, was elected on the second ballot in an election that was fully conducted on Zoom due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There were five candidates on the slate for this election, and on the second ballot Woodliff-Stanley received 26 of 34 clergy votes and 13 of the 19.5 votes from the lay order representing the parishes and missions of the diocese. To win the election, a candidate needed to carry the required majority in both the Lay and Clergy Orders on the same ballot.
Bishop-elect Woodliff-Stanley joined the Convention on Zoom to address the delegates and all of the diocese just after the election results were announced. “You have given a vision of what is possible,” the Bishop-elect shared with those attending the Electing Convention virtually, adding “It’s a vision I hope I can honor.” She went on to say: “Ours is the call to see the hearts of all the people of the world, beginning with one another.”
Read more on the diocesan website at this link.
The Rev. Cn. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley
The Diocese of South Carolina, also recognized as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, is the historic diocese in the eastern half of South Carolina, and part of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. When The Episcopal Church adopted a Constitution in 1789, the Diocese of South Carolina was established. The Diocese's first Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert Smith was elected in 1795 and served until his death in 1801. The last diocesan bishop to serve the Diocese of South Carolina was elected in 2008 and served until 2012. Since that time, the Diocese has been led by two provisional bishops, with the second retiring in December 2019.
In January 2020, the Standing Committee announced the search had begun to find the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. On April 22, 2020, the search was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 19, 2020, the search for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina was resumed.
The Bishop Search Committee announced in mid-August that the period of receiving nominations would begin on Monday, August 31, and close on Thursday, October 15. The timeline has been amended as a result of the unplanned pause in the search. The current timeline projects that an election for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina will be held in the Spring of 2021, with the anticipated Consecration before the end of 2021.
On January 23, 2020, in a letter to the Diocese of South Carolina, the Reverend Canon Caleb Lee, as President of the Standing Committee, announced that the diocese would move forward with the search for its fifteenth diocesan bishop. In this announcement, Cn. Lee shared that the Chair of the Search Committee is The Reverend Dr. Philip C. Linder, Priest-in-Charge at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Charleston. Read the entire letter at this link.
March 3, 2020
This is an exciting and hope-filled time in the Diocese of South Carolina. The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has certainly been through some very challenging and difficult times within the last decade. The decision to initiate the search that will lead to the Election of the XV Bishop of our diocese, boldly proclaims though that we are moving forward for the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ in this part of God’s kingdom!
Our 16-member Bishop Search Committee was given their Charge from The Standing Committee of our diocese in January of 2020. We are an energetic and faithful group of Episcopalians, lay and ordained, representing the four Deaneries and geographic areas of the diocese. And, all of us have a strong commitment to finding the one that will lead us as Diocesan Bishop to the future to which God is calling.
I invite you to study the Diocesan Profile to learn more about our diocese, and the qualities that we are seeking in our next bishop. If after examination and prayer, you believe that God may be calling you to South Carolina, we welcome your application. And, if you know of someone that may be a good fit for us, we encourage you to nominate them.
As we are in prayer and discernment, I ask for your prayers as well. I am reminded of the words of Saint Paul: “Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20)
Faithfully in Christ,
The Reverend Dr. Philip C. Linder, Chair
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The Standing Committee has called a Special Meeting of Convention to be held for the purposes of the Election of the XV Bishop of the Dioce...
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