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.”
Raised and ordained in Mississippi, Woodliff-Stanley has served as rector of a parish, as canon on the staffs of two bishops of The Episcopal Church, and also in church-wide ministry focused on stewardship of finances and property. She is married to Nathan Woodliff-Stanley and they have two adult sons. In closing her remarks to the Convention, the bishop-elect expressed her pure joy in being elected to lead the Diocese of South Carolina. “This is a moment of pure, unabashed joy. I cannot wait to be with you!”
Read more on the diocesan website at this link.
The Electing Convention is available for viewing on you the Diocesan YouTube page at this link.
On Saturday, May 1 at 9 am, the Electing Convention will be live at this link: http://bit.ly/SCBishopXVElection
View the agenda at this link: http://bit.ly/ECAgendaMay1
Results to be posted on this website at Election Results.
This Saturday, more than 100 lay and clergy delegates will join together virtually to elect the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. The entire convention will be shared live on the Diocesan YouTube page beginning at 9 am at this link (http://bit.ly/SCBishopXVElection). The five candidates on the slate for this election are as follows (listed in alphabetical order by last name, click on each name for more information about each candidate):
Learn more about the Electing Convention, and the process outlined in our the diocese's Constitution and Canons which will guide this election on the Electing Convention page. If you have any questions about the election, as a delegate or a member of the diocese, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether participating live or watching the recorded videos on their own time, hundreds of people from throughout the diocese have learned more about the five candidates for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina this week through the three-day virtual event known as Candidate Conversations (In the photo, Jeanette Spencer, a member of Calvary, Charleston, and the Very Rev. Dr. Adam Shoemaker, rector of St. Stephen's, Charleston, both members of the Bishop Search Transition Committee, moderated the Wednesday morning session with the five candidates.).
From Monday through Wednesday, April 12-14, 2021, people of the diocese watched panel discussions with the candidates where they answered 4-5 questions in a live video conference each day, and then they joined in the evening for breakout sessions that provided an opportunity to meet and listen to each candidate one at a time. Throughout the event, churches from around the diocese joined together to offer morning prayer, noonday prayer and evening prayer for each daily session. Youth of the diocese closed the three-day event with Compline on Wednesday evening.
Candidate Conversations hopefully served as a wonderful opportunity for the candidates to learn more about the diocese and for people to learn more about them. This will be particularly helpful for those who will serve as lay and clergy delegates at the Electing Convention on May 1, 2021. For those who were unable to watch the events live, the panel discussions from each of the three days were recorded and can be watched on the Diocesan YouTube account at this playlist.
A listing of all questions asked at each session can be found on the Candidate Conversation page at this link (all questions are listed next to the session video in which they were asked).
To access the Bishop Election event through our app, please download our official app for all things related to convention and access the desktop version to join our sessions. Follow the steps below to get started.
If you downloaded the app for the Diocesan Convention in the Fall: Open the Diocese of South Carolina app in your phone or tablet.
If you have not previously downloaded the app:
To access the desktop version of our virtual event, please click here: https://download.socio.events/event/OTMwMw%3D%3D to sign up or login (with the same email you used to register), and start browsing.
Questions? Email Andrea McKellar at email@example.com.
During Holy Week, Elsa McDowell, a member of the Diocese and a retired journalist with the Charleston Post & Courier (who also served on the Bishop Search Committee), conducted 20-30 minute video interviews on Zoom with each of the five candidates on the slate for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. These interviews are a great opportunity to learn more about the candidates as we are just over three weeks away from the election on Saturday, May 1 at 9 am.
Candidates were each asked the same six questions, which were provided in advance. The interviews can be watched on the Diocesan YouTube page at this link.
While only the registered lay and clergy delegates will cast votes at the upcoming Electing Convention, all members of the diocese are encouraged to learn more about these candidates, and share your thoughts with your church's delegates.
Candidate Conversations will be held April 12-14 in place of the traditional "Walkabouts" that are usually a part of a bishop election process. These fully-online and virtual forums will take place on Zoom and will provide an opportunity for the people of the diocese to hear directly from the candidates about issues affecting our common life, and to help the candidates learn more about what matters most to people in the diocese.
The Candidate Conversations will consist of a series of morning panel discussions (each day at 10 am) and early evening “breakout” sessions (each day from 5:30-8 pm). In the morning panel discussions, each candidate will have the opportunity to respond in turn to questions asked by the moderators. The evening “breakout” sessions will be more informal opportunities to spend time with each candidate. All are welcome and invited to participate in any or all parts of the three-day event.
People may watch and participate the Candidate Conversations on Zoom, but those daily sessions will also be shared live on the Diocesan YouTube channel at this link: www.youtube.com/c/DioceseofSC. People will only be able to view the evening breakout sessions through the Zoom link below:
Join Zoom Meeting for the Candidate Conversations at this link:
Meeting ID: 891 0367 6508
Click link above, or dial the following number and enter the information above: +1 646 876 9923
Who can participate as an attendee?
All portions of the Candidate Conversations, including all of the Daily Office services, are open to anyone who would like to attend. Canonically-resident clergy and lay delegates to the electing convention are strongly encouraged to attend. The morning panel sessions will be streamed live on the Diocesan YouTube channel and a link will be shared on the Diocesan Facebook page.
A slate of five candidates for the XV Bishop of South Carolina was announced on January 30, 2021. The candidates were recently asked by the Bishop Search Transition Committee to introduce themselves to the diocese in a short video and answer the following question: "Why do you feel called to serve in the Diocese of South Carolina as Bishop?” Each candidate's video can be viewed on their candidate page through the "Candidate" heading above, or by visiting this playlist on the Diocesan YouTube page.
The President of the Standing Committee sent a letter to all clergy and leaders of congregations in the Diocese of South Carolina March 4, 2021, to request certification of delegates and invite registration for the upcoming Special Convention to be held for the purpose of electing the XV Bishop of South Carolina on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Due to the realities of the ongoing pandemic, the Standing Committee announced a decision to utilize a fully virtual platform.
The letter also explained the delegates who will vote at the Special Convention. Each parish is to provide four lay delegates and up to four alternates. Each mission is to provide two lay delegates and up to two alternates. According to our canons, it is necessary for lay delegates to be elected after the Call to Convention was made on January 30, 2021. All canonically-resident clergy who are currently serving a church or institution of the Diocese or, are canonically resident having served a parish or institution of the diocese for five years directly before retirement, have voice, seat, and vote at this convention.
All clergy and lay delegates are asked to register here by Friday, April 16, 2021. Visitors of this Special Convention will be able to view all proceedings live on the Diocesan YouTube page on May 1 beginning at 9 am.
The Bishop Search Transition Committee and the Standing Committee have decided that the Walkabouts/Candidate Conversations held on April 12-14 will be conducted virtually due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, Walkabouts are a time for the candidates to learn about the diocese, and for the people of the diocese to learn more about the candidates.
Submit Questions for Candidate Conversations: As the process shifts this year to virtual Candidate Conversations, there will be multiple ways for people to remain engaged in the process of electing a new bishop for our diocese. The first such opportunity is to submit questions for the candidates to be asked during the Candidate Conversations.
Questions should not be specific to any particular candidate, but should be able to be asked of all candidates in a panel-like setting. There is no limit to the number of questions that may be submitted by an individual. Members of the Transition Committee will review all questions and determine which questions will be posed to the candidates at the events in April. There will be several online sessions of Candidate Conversations, organized by the four deaneries of our diocese. Details about these sessions will be shared very soon on the Bishop Search Website at this link.
Questions may be submitted to the Transition Committee using this link. All questions should be submitted by Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
As our diocese prepares to elect a full-time diocesan bishop for the first time since 2008, the Rev. Dr. Adam Shoemaker, Transition Committee Member, talked with the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr., Visiting Bishop for our diocese, about the role of a Diocesan Bishop and what it will look like in our diocese in the near future. Click on the video to hear the conversation.
The Standing Committee is pleased to announce that the slate of five candidates for the 15th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, which was announced on January 31, 2021, has become the final slate. The petition process closed on Monday, February 8, and no nominations by petition were received.
Information about the five candidates, including a bio, resume, and answers to the essay questions asked during the application process, can be found at this link. The Standing Committee encourages the people of the diocese to participate in the upcoming Walkabouts/Candidate Conversations scheduled for April 12-14, 2021. More details will be coming soon about these events.
The Standing Committee has called for a Special Meeting of Convention to be held for the purposes of the Election of the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina on May 1, 2021, at Grace Church Cathedral, Charleston, at 9 am.
Dear Faithful People of the Diocese of South Carolina,
The Standing Committee is very pleased to announce the following slate of candidates for the XV Bishop of South Carolina (listed in alphabetical order by last name):
Information about each candidate, including their resumes and the essay questions submitted with their applications, can be found at this link (or by clicking their names above).
This past year has been very challenging, in more ways than one. Through it all, our incredibly talented Search Committee has been steadfast in prayerful discernment.
They selected, from a large and exceptionally qualified pool of candidates, the names presented to you to stand for election. The Standing Committee is grateful for the holy work that has been underway, and we are very confident in the process that has brought us to this point.
The petition period is now open and will close on Monday, February 8 at 5 pm EST. Information about the petition process, as well as forms and information about other required documents, can be found at this link. All nomination petitions and all supplemental materials will be directed to the Chair of the Bishop Search Committee. After the completion of all necessary evaluations and accompanying paperwork, any petition candidate will be announced to the Convention no later than March 17.
Walkabouts and Candidate Conversations will be held in the Second Week of Easter occurring Monday, April 12 through Wednesday, April 14. Participation in these offerings throughout the diocese is highly encouraged. More information about these special events will be forthcoming. Between now and then, more information will also become available from our candidates.
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 Diocese of South Carolina. This Special Convention will take place at 9 am on May 1, 2021, at Grace Church Cathedral. If the Convention is not able to meet in person, the diocese will proceed with a virtual platform.
We now move into a more public form of discernment. Public discernment requires us to continue our prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina which now includes these wonderful candidates and their families. Each of them is a beloved child of God. I pray that we keep this deep truth central as we discern with them. We also must pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide this process. And, not our will, but God’s will be done.
A Prayer for the Election of a Bishop from The Book of Common Prayer
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
With deep gratitude and excitement,
The Reverend Canon Caleb J. Lee
President of the Standing Committee
During the 230th Convention for the Diocese of South Carolina November 20-21, 2020, the Rev. Dr. Philip Linder, Bishop Search Committee Chair, provided a video update about the search. Click on the video to view the message.
December 1, 2020 - The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina recently announced the formation of the Transition Committee that will serve in the search for the Diocese’s XV Bishop. Read more at this link.
August 31, 2020 - After a brief pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the search for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina has resumed. The Bishop Search Committee is now receiving nominations and applications through October 15, 2020. Read more at this link.
August 19, 2020 - The search for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina has resumed, after pausing the process on April 22, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more at this link.
April 22, 2020 - As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to impact our daily lives and immediate future, the Rev. Cn. Caleb Lee, President of the Standing Committee of The Diocese of South Carolina, has written an update regarding the current search for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. Read more at this link.
February 5, 2020 - In a letter, the Rev. Dr. Philip Linder, Chair of the Bishop Search Committee, shared a message about the Listening Sessions planned as part of the search for the XV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. Read more at this link.
February 5, 2020 - The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina has appointed a Bishop Search Committee chaired by the Rev. Dr. Philip Linder. Read more at this link.
January 23, 2020 - In a letter to all the faithful people of the Diocese of South Carolina, the Rev. Cn. Caleb Lee, President of the Standing Committee, announced today that the Standing Committee has voted to move forward with the process that will lead to the election and consecration of the 15th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. Read more at this link.