We need a bishop who…
…will speak clearly and convincingly about the love of God in Jesus.
The people of South Carolina want a leader who will bring enthusiasm for the gospel to everything from large diocesan gatherings to individual conversations. We want our next bishop to be an able communicator in bearing witness to the resurrection, and an evangelist who is “always ready to give an accounting” for the hope that is in us.
…will also recognize and embrace the broader issues of justice that face us.
We see our current legal struggles as a sign of wider struggles for justice among all peoples. We, remembering our own history, are committed to being attentive to issues of justice and fairness in the world around us. Programs of reconciliation and the inclusion of communities marginalized on the basis of age, ethnicity, race, or sexuality have been a hallmark of our life together since 2012. We expect that our next bishop will take the lead in promoting justice and “respecting the dignity of every human being.”
…has been successful in congregational development and fundraising.
Our diocese has essentially started from scratch financially since the schism in 2012. We have grown the diocesan budget every year since 2012, but we will need our new bishop to be skilled in speaking to us and to the wider church about stewardship and the need to support the ministry of the Diocese so that the Diocese can be about the business of planting churches and growing congregations.
…will not shy away from engaging in the ongoing legal disputes.
We are still waiting for the final outcome of the lawsuits resulting from the schism in 2012. Our next bishop will need to be aware of both the history of these lawsuits and the effects that the ongoing legal proceedings are having on our various congregations. Taking a role in the legal battle is likely to mean that the bishop will be under regular public scrutiny, so they will have to have “thick skin” and be able to handle criticism with grace and poise.
We need a bishop who…
…will work effectively with congregations of all sizes and geographic locations.
Our diocese is currently made up of 31 parishes, missions, and worship groups. The largest parish, our cathedral, has over 3,000 baptized members, and the smallest worship group consists of about ten laypersons. Each congregation has its own unique challenges and opportunities. Our next bishop will need to work actively to understand the different context of each parish, mission, and worship group as they make decisions about the future.
…will recognize the unique nature of mission congregations formed because of the schism.
Many of the mission congregations of our diocese were formed as a result of the schism in 2012. While most of the missions have grown even in spite of the schism, the reality is that we have many small congregations that still need significant diocesan support. The bishop will need to pay special attention to these congregations so that they can continue to bear witness to the gospel.
…will recognize the gifts of all people in the Diocese in helping them to discern their vocation to ministry.
All members of the Diocese, lay or clergy, have gifts which contribute to the life of the church, and some are called to special leadership roles. Our next bishop will be committed to helping people discern the gifts that they have for building up the church.
…will shepherd us by supporting relational ministries within the Diocese.
According to the Book of Common Prayer, the bishop is the chief pastor of the diocese. As our chief pastor, our bishop will take time to encourage and support the clergy across the diocese and work with the regional deans to strengthen connections and cultivate shared ministries. The bishop will also help raise up strong, effective lay leaders in the diocese, working with all parties to develop programs for spiritual growth and continuing education. Though some decisions will rest solely under the bishop’s discretion, we hope that our bishop will always take heed of the advice from Proverbs 11:14 - “in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
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