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Nominees for the 13th Bishop of Arkansas announced


The Rev. Larry R. Benfield  

The Rev. Brian N. Prior  

The Rev. Dr. Gregory H. Rickel  

The Very Rev. John C. Ross  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Nominating Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas announced today its slate of nominees for the Thirteenth Episcopal Bishop of Arkansas.
The nominees are:
The Rev. Larry R. Benfield, rector, Christ Church, Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Rev. Brian N. Prior, rector, Church of the Resurrection, Spokane Valley, Washington.

The Rev. Dr. Gregory H. Rickel, rector, St. James' Church, Austin, Texas.

The Very Rev. John C. Ross, dean, St. John's Cathedral, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Biographical information and photographs of the four nominees, together with the nominees' responses to six questions posed by the Nominating Committee, are available at
The new bishop will succeed Bishop Larry E. Maze, who will retire at the end of the year. The four persons were chosen by the Nominating Committee after a national search which began with a field of 36 formal nominations. The Nominating Committee is made up of a group of seventeen individuals who represent geographical, gender, and racial diversity in the state. The Standing Committee charged the Nominating Committee with selecting three to six nominees.
The nominees will visit with and be interviewed by clergy and lay convention delegates on October 21 at St. Mark's Church in Little Rock. The election by convention delegates will take place on November 11 at Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock, and the new bishop is scheduled to be consecrated on January 6, 2007, at the Episcopal Collegiate School, also in Little Rock.
Petitions may be filed on behalf of potential additions to the slate from September 2-15. Those petitions will be filed with the Standing Committee, which will decide whether those persons will be presented to the full convention during the interview session on October 21 and for election on November 11.
The nomination process included a state-wide survey that asked all Episcopal clergy and parishioners to prioritize diocesan programs and ministry, and to list the skills they would expect their bishop to possess. The committee then prepared a diocesan profile and a request for nominations that were distributed throughout the country.
"These four nominees were the consensus nominees of the full committee," said Robert L. Brown, chair of the Nominating Committee. "They are truly remarkable priests who have outstanding credentials. We are confident that any one of the four could be an exemplary bishop for our diocese and lead us well into the 21st century."
The Diocese of Arkansas represents the entire state of Arkansas and is comprised of 55 congregations with 15,000 members.