The Standing Committee has issued this letter to the people of the diocese:
The people of the Diocese of Bethlehem have worked steadfastly over the past year to discern who we are and who we want to be.
Through regional dialogues we have named our differences and our similarities. Our parishes are urban and rural, small and large, close to Bethlehem and far away, old and newer, and north and south of the tunnel.
We also affirmed that we are more alike than we are different. Pleasing God is our desire. We love our liturgy. We promise to treat others with respect and dignity. We want our parishes to grow and we want others to know our God. As we worked together, we expressed an initiative to connect, communicate, and collaborate with our fellow pilgrims. Sister churches were established and banners exchanged.
Now the pilgrimage continues. Bishop Sean has called for an election of the IX Bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem. Focused on God, we the people of the Diocese have vast untapped potential. It is incumbent upon us to choose a leader who is able and willing to draw from us the best we have to offer to God and our world.
That said, the Standing Committee has begun the process of establishing a Search Committee. We have hired a consultant to work with us, the Search Committee, and in the not too distant future, the Transition Committee. The consultant, Judith Stark, is very familiar with the whole process of election of an Episcopal bishop and will guide us every step of the way.
The Standing Committee is committed to open, timely communication with the parishes of the Diocese as we begin this election process. Out of necessity, much of the Search Committee’s work will be confidential. The Standing Committee will do its utmost to keep everyone informed of our timeline and important events in the future.
At this time, the Standing Committee is ready to accept nominations to the Search Committee. Those who put their name forward must recognize that this committee will require a significant commitment of time over at least 12 months. Members of the Search Committee must be willing to travel within the Diocese for various meetings. Each Search Committee member must possess computer skills enabling them to use email and document sharing so that the Search Committee can work electronically. There will be two mandatory retreats, one in March 2017 and one later in the process. Each member chosen for the Search Committee will be asked to sign a confidentiality covenant. If, after prayerful consideration, one feels called to this task, please submit a statement of about 500 words telling the Standing Committee the gifts and skills you have to offer the Search Committee and why you feel called to this ministry on behalf of the Diocese. Please email your response by February 3, 2017 to:
We who are involved in this election process, and that means every single person in the Diocese, ask for your prayers. Please pray daily for the committees–for wisdom, and the strength they will need to complete their tasks. Please ask God to raise up for us a Bishop who will shepherd us with faith, understanding, love, and wisdom. We are all in this process together and together we will support one another trusting in God’s will.