The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio on July 10 announced the nominees for the ninth bishop of Southern Ohio.
The nominees were chosen after an extensive search by the Nominating Committee of the diocese, a group of 13 people representing the geographic, gender and racial diversity of the diocese. The five were chosen from a field of 83. More than 275 people were recommended to the Nominating Committee.
Clergy and lay delegates will gather November 11 at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth to elect the ninth bishop of Southern Ohio –- a successor to Bishop Herbert Thompson Jr., who retired at the end of 2005. Bishop Kenneth Price Jr., Southern Ohio's suffragan, is serving as bishop in Southern Ohio until the election of the ninth bishop. Consecration for Southern Ohio's ninth bishop is scheduled for April 28, 2007, in Columbus.
The nominees are:
• The Rev. Thomas Edward Breidenthal, Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel, Princeton University
• The Rev. Robert Glenn Certain, rector, St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Palm Desert, California
• The Rev. Susan E. Goff, rector, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Springfield, Virginia
• The Rev. John F. Koepke III, rector, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio
• The Rev. James B. Lemler, Director of Mission, The Episcopal Church, New York, New York
These priests join an additional nominee, the Rev. Canon George Hill, rector of St. Barnabas, Montgomery, Ohio. Hill was nominated by petition in 2005.
Biographical information and photos of the nominees are posted on the diocese's web site.
An election planned for June 11, 2005, was postponed after the House of Bishops declared a moratorium on consents to bishop elections in March of 2005. Only one of the original nominees –- Canon Hill –- continued in the process, while the rest withdrew their names from consideration. The Nominating Committee conducted a second search after the postponed election.
"Our hopes and prayers since we began this process in late 2003 have been that God would guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for our diocese," said Jon Boss, president of the Standing Committee, which oversees the election of a new bishop. "With the announcement today of the names of the five additional nominees, the Nominating Committee has now fulfilled its assignment. Now it is the responsibility of each lay delegate and clergy who will elect our Ninth Bishop on November 11 to begin his or her own discernment process. We ask your prayers for the electors and the nominees as we move forward on this journey."
"Our nominating committee is excited to present today five outstanding nominees. Their gifts and experiences for ministry are breathtaking," said Mike Krug, chair of the Nominating Committee. "Our work was spiritually grounded, and all our decisions made by consensus. So we can say, absolutely, that all of us believe each of these five would make an outstanding ninth bishop for Southern Ohio."
Also posted on the diocesan web site are nominees' answers to questions posed by the Nominating Committee and by the Standing Committee. This information also will be printed in the diocese's newspaper, Interchange, and sent to more than 25,000 Episcopalians in Southern Ohio. The nominees were chosen based on priorities established by the diocese through surveys and meetings in 2004.
The petition process for any further nominees runs from July 10-August 4. Petition nominees will be announced by mid-October, following the completion of background checks. Nominee forums will be held Oct. 24-28, with follow-up discussion meetings in each of the diocese's deaneries. The nominee forums are an opportunity for clergy and lay delegates to ask questions of the bishop nominees and for everyone in the diocese to meet the nominees.
The Diocese of Southern Ohio represents more than 25,000 people in 40 counties. The Diocese of Southern Ohio hosted the Episcopal Church's 75th General Convention, which met June 13-21 in Columbus.