Nothing really "new" here ... this list of candidates for the Bishop of Kentucky was announced earlier this week in a variety of places. I was, however, struck by the fact the journalist noted that the list of candidates was "notable for its lack of gay or lesbian candidates ... and for its lack of women."
I guess it's a small step forward that our absence is starting to be "notable" rather than our presence!
Four nominated for Kentucky Episcopal bishop
by Peter Smith -- January 29, 2010 --email@example.com
Four married men with years of clergy experience have been nominated as finalists to be the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, succeeding the retiring Bishop Ted Gulick.
The four men — including the pastors of cathedrals in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Missouri and a former Kentucky pastor now leading a Texas church — will visit the diocese to meet with parishioners and answer their questions. An election convention is scheduled for June 5, with the new bishop’s consecration on Sept. 25.
The list of finalists is notable for its lack of gay or lesbian candidates — given the ongoing controversy involving the Episcopal Church and its global partners in the Anglican Communion over the role of gays in ministry — and for its lack of women.
The Kentucky diocese has long promoted women in ministry, and while the issue of homosexuality has been debated, the denomination and many of its congregations have supported the role of gays and lesbians in ministry.
But the Rev. Dr. Bill Watson, president of the diocese’s standing committee, said the search committee was composed of men and women and open to any candidates who qualified under Episcopal “canons,” or church law. That includes women and openly gay and lesbian candidates.
“I don’t know that there was any desire to look for any particular candidate that would be representing any kind of interest,” said Watson.
The search committee consisted of men and women who were more concerned with finding the “best and brightest,” he said.
“They were looking at and reflecting on the profiles (of the candidates) and the actual interviews with the nominees and their reflection on the life of the church,” Watson said. “That’s really what drove it. I think the process was very open, and we recruited from around the church.”
The standing committee is in charge of the bishop selection process. A separate search committee sorted through 78 names. Members interviewed numerous candidates by phone and conducted on-site visits in the home dioceses of 10 of them.
“It’s a really exciting slate of nominees,” said Watson, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in Hopkinsville, Ky. “It looks like a very well-qualified group of people. I’m delighted they’ve allowed themselves to be a part of the process.”
The candidates are:
* The Rev. David Allen Boyd, 54, pastor of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, since 2003. He served as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church in Lexington, Ky., from 1996 to 2003 and as pastor of parishes in Wisconsin from 1986 to 1996. He and his wife, the Rev. Catherine Tyndall Boyd, have two children.
* The Very Rev. John P. Downey, 56, pastor of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Erie, Pa., since 1987. He has also served as pastor of other Pennsylvania parishes from 1980 to 1986. He is married to Sharon A. Downey and has three children.
* The Very Rev. William Nicholas Knisely Jr., 49, pastor of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Ariz., since 2006. He also served as a pastor in Pennsylvania and Delaware from 1991 to 2006. He and his wife, Karen McTigue Knisely, have one child.
* The Very Rev. Terry Allan White, 50, pastor of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Mo., since 2004. He also served as pastor of parishes in Illinois and Wisconsin from 1985 to 2004. He and his wife, Linda Sue White, have two children.
In 2003, simmering tensions in the global Anglican Communion exploded with the election at the Episcopal
Church’s General Convention of its first openly gay bishop — Kentucky native Gene Robinson in the Diocese of New Hampshire. All of the Kentucky diocese’s representatives voted in favor of Robinson’s appointment.
Several overseas churches declared that their communion with the American church had been broken, and some American churches and dioceses have split off.
The General Convention pledged in 2006 that the Episcopal Church would “exercise restraint” over any future gay bishop nominees. But in 2009, the convention passed a measure reaffirming Episcopal canons saying that “God has called and may call” gays and lesbians to “any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church”; at the same time, it reaffirmed the church’s commitment to Anglican unity.
Following that vote, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected an openly lesbian candidate, the Rev. Mary Glasspool, to be assistant bishop. Her election requires confirmation by other bishops and diocesan standing committees in votes scheduled through May.
The Diocese of Kentucky, led by Gulick since 1994, includes Louisville and central and western Kentucky. It has 9,856 members and an average weekly attendance of 3,781 — both down from the previous year, paralleling trends in the national denomination and several other historic Protestant groups.