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Getting Consent for Your Bishop-Elect


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Brother Causticus guides you through the canonical niceties of getting conset for your Episcopal Church bishop-elect.

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Getting Consent for Your Bishop-Elect

  1. 1. It’s About Time! Getting Consent for Your Bishop-Elect
  2. 2. Congratulations! <ul><li>Your Episcopal Church diocese has elected exactly the right person to be chief pastor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Liberal apostate promoting mandatory homosexuality, Millennium Development Goals, and a “post-Christian” reading of the Nicene Creed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Narrow-minded Bible-thumper (NIV only) with Martyn Minns on speed-dial and an Institute on Religion & Democracy-funded real estate attorney on retainer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equivocating institutionalist committed to “continuing the conversation” and praying Church Pension Fund remains intact until his/her retirement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But your work isn’t done yet! </li></ul>
  3. 3. WARNING <ul><li>Make sure you know the rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Episcopalians call rules “canons” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re written down somewhere, but nobody is quite sure if they have the latest version </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to follow canons, if you must </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some stuff, like inviting the unbaptized to Communion, can slide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other stuff, like electing an orthodox bishop, will receive very close scrutiny </li></ul></ul>Despite being American, it is possible you may not be able do whatever the heck you feel like
  4. 4. Canons Concerning Bishop-Elects <ul><li>Bishops must agree to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unless Church is being “apostate” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unless bishop is being “prophetic” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Standing committees of other dioceses must consent to election of your bishop </li></ul><ul><li>If less than 120 days to General Convention, consent to episcopal elections is given by House of Deputies </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why Consent? It has something to do with “unity” Hey! Tell me where it says in the Bible that you need consent! You mean Californians and New Yorkers can advise us who’s fit to be our bishop? Whatever. We’re half-way out the door to CANA anyway. They say ‘no’, we’re gone. The Holy Spirit said s/he was the one. Why confuse things by asking the larger Church? Don’t worry: Once s/he’s past this hurdle, “unity” isn’t going to get in the way of your bishop doing what needs to be done. The Pope just tells Catholics who their bishop is. Why are we so sloppy?
  6. 6. The Consent Process
  7. 7. Consent from General Convention Deputies <ul><li>Full details beyond scope of this presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Food Fight at God’s Table: Strategies for General Convention Delegates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chicken Soup for the House of Deputies Soul </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whatever was floating around the last “baby bishops” school – need not read, just reference and nod knowingly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Important tips </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If your bishop-elect is in a special hard-to-confirm category – e.g., openly gay (closeted OK) or believes Jesus is the only way to the Father – you must begin seeking consents as early as possible before Gen Con </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A vote promised in the hotel bar near closing should be followed up on the next day – it’s not a done deal until they remember it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Polity” is your pal. Use it! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Consent from Diocesan Standing Committees <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoids unrelated Gen Con floor fights erupting around your bishop’s candidacy – “That jerk voted against my pet proposition, so I’m against anything or anyone he supports” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Just another “ayes have it” voice vote at the end of a long committee meeting instead of an opportunity for “my, aren’t we quite the power brokers” grandstanding at Gen Con </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divides and conquers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs can now quickly spread unmanageable hysteria re: your bishop-elect to even remote dioceses – “I read it in a comment box at Stand Firm, therefore it must be true” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of administrivia: Must send out requests for consent to all dioceses – not just “sure things” – and track replies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must get results certified by 815 – need to rein in “Whore of Babylon” rhetoric in diocese for several months before submitting consents </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Fun Facts About Consents <ul><li>Consents must be in written form with original signatures on an actual piece of paper and delivered by mail or some other physical (“real world”) method </li></ul><ul><li>Consents must be delivered to 815 for certification by or before the required deadline, New York City time </li></ul>
  10. 10. Are They Serious?... … Like a heart attack These are mandatory canons Unlike optional canons such as “don’t teach heresy” or “the diocese (and not the congregation) owns parish property” these canons should be taken seriously But we’re Episcopalians, surely there’s a way we can slide?... … Probably not. There’s a new sheriff in town.
  11. 11. Comment & Discussion <ul><li>Further expression of disbelief that rules would be enforced as written </li></ul><ul><li>Remark that “Christians are under grace, not law.” </li></ul><ul><li>Level charges of persecution against [ insert your faction here ] </li></ul><ul><li>Get gentle reminder that if your standing committee screws up and tries to blame 815, 815 will (in a non-anxious manner) point out who actually blew it </li></ul><ul><li>Make mental note to research consent process in Church of Nigeria </li></ul><ul><li>Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance </li></ul>
  12. 12. Dismissal Let us go forth into the world, crossing our “T”s and dotting our “I”s. Alleluia! Thanks be to God. Alleluia!