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NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA/MAINE: One nomination process winds down, another about to begin

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
[Episcopal News Service]  As the deadline for bishop nominations approaches in the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, the Episcopal Diocese of Maine is preparing to begin receiving nominations.

In Northwestern Pennsylvania, the deadline for nominating people to succeed Bishop Robert D. Rowley Jr. is December 25. More information about the search process, including the diocesan profile, is available here.

Rowley announced in July that he was taking a "terminal sabbatical leave."

Rowley said in a letter to the diocese that the Standing Committee proposed the idea of a terminal sabbatical because it was concerned that "if I continued to serve as Diocesan Bishop that my physical health would be impacted."

His leave was effective immediately, concluding August 31, 2007, a date Rowley had previously announced as his retirement date.

Rowley, 65, will hold his office for pension considerations, but he asked the Standing

Committee to assume ecclesiastical authority until a new bishop is elected and consecrated.

An episcopal search committee had been previously organized and the electing convention is set for May 19, 2007.

The diocese consists of about 4,800 Episcopalians worshipping in 36 congregations.

In the Diocese of Maine, nominations of people to succeed Bishop Chilton Knudsen will be received from January 1 through March 15. The final slate of nominees will be announced in the fall. The election will occur during the diocese’s 188th annual Convention in October. The person elected will first become bishop coadjutor.

Knudsen, 60, became Maine’s eighth bishop in 1998. She is the diocese’s first woman bishop.

More information about the search process, including the diocesan profile, is available here.