Saturday, May 30, 2009

On the bishop suffragan election in the Diocese of Los Angeles

Today is May 30th -- the day by which those whose names have been placed in nomination have been asked to declare their intentions regarding the bishop suffragan election to be held in December.

We will be electing two bishops suffragan to follow in the footsteps of our Bishop Suffragan Chet Talton and our Assisting Bishop Sergio Carranza -- both retiring in June 2010.

Details on the process are available on the diocesan website for the election scheduled for December 4-5 in Riverside CA.

For the record, here's a copy of the letter I sent to the Reverend Julian Bull, Chair of the Suffragan Search Committee:


Dear Julian & Bishop Suffragan Search Committee Members,

I am writing to thank you for the high honor of having been nominated for the position of bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles -- and to say that after due prayerful consideration I do not believe that I am -- at this time -- called to the episcopate.

If I was, I could not imagine a better diocese to serve or better colleagues to serve with than those of you the Holy Spirit has called to empower us to call our next bishops suffragan. I may be a little biased, as I am a child of the Diocese of Los Angeles: born at Good Samaritan Hospital, baptized at the Old Cathedral and serving it first as a lay professional, then as a deacon and now as a priest. I not only have great love and affection for this my "home diocese" but in my eclectic career, I have also had some extraordinary opportunities to observe the wider church beyond our diocesan boundaries.

I served on the National Board of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW), as President of Integrity USA and as part of the team representing ECUSA to the Anglican Consultative Council in 2005. From those vantage points, I can truly say "there is no place like home" ... and while God is clearly not finished with the Diocese of Los Angeles yet, we are a blessed people who have been blessed by extraordinary episcopal leadership that has "brought us thus far on the way."

Los Angeles deserves the best possible candidates for bishop and we are trusting you to give them to us. You and the work of your committee will be MUCH in my prayers in the days and weeks to come as you discern for us who to consider as bishops to continue to lead us forward. I trust that you will be open to the Spirit working in and through you and through this discernment process ... and I trust as well that the candidates coming forward will be considered without bias based on any extra-canonical suggestions about requirements for the episcopate.

With deep gratitude to each and every one of you for your work and witness,



Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose new bishops for this Diocese that we may receive faithful pastors, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Dear Susan,

As always, your clarity comes through loud and clear. It is equally important to know what one is NOT called to do/be as it is to know what one IS called to do/be. Continued blessings aplenty on your marvelous ministry journey. Your leadership is palpable.


Ann said...

You'd a been a good one. But who wants that job? Too limiting.

PseudoPiskie said...

What Ann said. It is refreshing to hear a very capable person say they do not feel called. We appreciate you where you are.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, darlings, she said she did not feel called - at this time. And, who could blame her for that. It's not the best of times for an honestly open and self-affirming LGBT person to be discerning a vocation to the episcopacy.

Were any LGBT person to actually BE elected the scrutiny s/he would be under would be so intense as to give a migraine to someone who had never even had a prior migraine.

Everything s/he has ever written could be taken out of context and held up for target practice.

Anything about her/his family of origin, spouse or children is also fair game.

I'm not saying that Susan has anything to hide or that this factored in her decision process. I'm just sayin . . .

Being a suffragan might be much more fun than being a diocesan, but who would want to go through THAT process?

I can't name too many qualified LGBT people or, in fact, straight people who would get excited at the possibilities inherent in an election and confirmation process.

It makes it almost impossible to be able to do the kind of discernment needed to actually test if there is, in fact, a vocation.

At. This. Time.

And, it's our loss. Susan is brilliant, of course. She'd be fabulous.

And, I completely understand.

At. This. Time.

DavidJustinLynch said...

I am disappointed. Mother Susan's gifts are exactly what the leadership of the Church needs right now. Jesus was always on the side of the oppressed, just like she was, is, and will be forever.

seamus said...

I think as a "catholic" bishop you could have been a great thorn in the backsides of the "Catholic" bishops who have yet to have a grasp of coexsisting in a pluaralistic society.

Jim said...

What Rev. Elizabeth said.

When I was a postulant, a member of the diocian discernment committee asked me what I would do if I were elected bishop. I responded without hesitation "Demand a recount!"

And the Spirit blows where it will. So, at this time, we await the discerning wind.