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CHICAGO: Diocese begins accepting nominations for 12th bishop



[Episcopal News Service]  The Bishop Search Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago has announced it is now receiving nominations for bishop of Chicago.

The committee will receive nominations until February 5, according to a diocesan news release. The committee will conduct telephone interviews of candidates April 21 through 28, and visit selected candidates in June and July. The final slate will be announced August 28. A two-week petition process will close September 11, and the nominees will visit the diocese October 24 through 28 to meet with clergy and lay members.

The election will be held during the diocese's annual convention November 11 and 12 in Wheeling, Illinois. The bishop-elect is scheduled to be consecrated or invested on February 3, 2008. He or she will succeed Bishop William Persell.

In the profile published on the committee's website the committee says the people of the diocese seek a leader with vision, one who is "a courageous and spiritually mature leader able to remain true to his or her own theological perspective while speaking for and representing the entire diocese."

According to the responses to the diocesan-wide survey conducted in May and June 2006, the committee finds that the diocese wants a bishop receptive to a diversity of voices; one who has a strong interest in church growth and development — particularly with youth and young adults, and the Latino community; one who is committed to communicating the church's Good News to the wider community; and one who models the baptismal call for justice and peace, and has "a sense of urgency for sharing and living the Gospel."

Five essay questions included in the nomination packet ask the applicants to describe their call to ordained ministry, explain their understanding of the role of bishop and how that relates to the call to serve as bishop of Chicago, describe their theology of leadership and its impact of the church, identify critical issues facing the church and how they might be addressed, and describe how they maintain their health and find a balance in their vocation and personal life.

The final slate of nominees, according the Standing Committee's charge to the Search Committee, will have three to six candidates. No candidate will be excluded "because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or age," said the Standing Committee in its charge, quoting the church's canon dealing with access to ministry discernment (Title III, Canon 1, Section 2).

The diocesan profile along with nomination forms and instructions, and the essay questionnaire for prospective nominees can be viewed and downloaded here.

The Diocese of Chicago comprises about 44,000 Episcopalians worshipping in 130 congregations in 22 counties in northern Illinois.