License to Vote

The Episcopal Church of the United States of America is a democratic institution.

For those of you who don’t know or understand what that means, it means that every single person in the diocese votes for representatives to the election crew, and then that election crew elects the bishop.

Of course, I’m condensing several years, millions of words, thousands of meetings, and a lot of votes into a few sentences.

And you know what? The thing that the media forgets, the thing that we all forget, is that we spend those years praying this 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.

These are not mere humans casting those ballots; these are agents of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless the Diocese of California and the Diocese of Northern California and their bishop-elects, the Rt. Rev. Andrus, Rev. Canon Beisner, and may God bless the Diocese of Tennessee as they continue their search.

I had the great privlegde of working with Barry Beisner once (I was a member of the NorCal diocese until last July, which means I spent a lot of time praying that prayer for that diocese) and I was impressed with his patience, his prayerfulness, and his ability to reconcile diverse groups. And boy howdy, will he get a diocese full of diverse groups!

Edit: Karen at Kinesis was a registrar and teller for the election of the Bishop of the Diocese of California, and she tells how it all went down here. But I’m going to quote the best part, for those of you too lazy to click the link.

After Bishop Andrus spoke to us via telephone hookup we moved into the liturgy of the table. We sang “The Church’s One Foundation,” took part in the Eucharistic prayers, and received communion. As I stood in the long line to receive the blessed bread and wine I noted with some amusement that most of the reporters had left. There was no Big Story now, only ordinary Christians doing what we always do, which is in itself the Biggest and Best Story of all.

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One response to “License to Vote

  1. Congratulations on your new Shepherds. That sounds like an eminently sensible way of selecting them. I can only pray that one day Rome will follow your lead.