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Conservatives in Albany devise new process for electing next bishop

Conservatives in Albany devise new process for electing next bishop

From the Albany Times Union:

A proposed rule change would eliminate a special Profile and Search Committee that seeks candidates in the diocese and from the national church and conducts a vetting process. Instead, the diocese’s Standing Committee, which advises the bishop, would administer the process relying on nominations from within the diocese.

“It’s like President Obama or President Bush using their cabinet to pick the next president,” said Jonathan Pearson, a delegate from St. George’s Church in Schenectady to the 145th annual diocesan convention.

The maneuvering at this meeting this weekend in Speculator plays out against the national debate over sexual issues involving the recognition and sanctioning in the church of gay marriage. Bishop William Love and the diocese have taken a position opposing this, leaving more liberal parishes to seek pastoral oversight from the bishops of neighboring dioceses in Syracuse and Vermont.

As a point of clarification: Albany is not currently look for a bishop. The Rt. Rev. William Love has not announced his retirement.


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tobias haller

I can’t speak for other diocesan standing committees, but my own diocese did not vote against the No Michigan election on the grounds of the manner in which it took place, but solely on issues relating to doctrine and ministry.

I realize this post has fallen beneath the vision of most readers, but want to offer this clarification in any case.


There’s nothing to say that Albany can’t do this, at least from a canonical standpoint. Historically, each diocese has been free to set its own rules for the election of a bishop. As long as the diocesan canons allowed for it, there’s nothing to prevent Albany from deciding that its next bishop will be elected by casting lots!

Honestly, the consent process doesn’t require that any other diocese like the way that a bishop has been elected (the fact that it has been misused this way recently is not an argument for continuing such misuse). And does anyone think that, even if the election process in Albany is left as is, there’s a snowball’s chance that the diocese will elect a liberal bishop?


Gerry Welch says I think we should leave it the way it is. I was just part of the election for the next mission of NJ. It was a powerful process.

That said the search committee needs to represent the diocese well.

Michael Hartney

One of the interesting things about the Diocese of Albany and its Bishops is that they overwhelmingly have come from its own ranks in recent decades (+Love.+Herzog, +Ball, +Hogg was an exception from the Diocese of Maine, +Persell, +Brown, +Richards, etc.) Has any other Diocese had such a long precedent in recent decades?

tobias haller

Frankly, I’m not all that keen on the custom — not the requirement — of “search committees” for bishops or rectors, rather than allowing duly elected bodies such as standing committees or vestries to do the work themselves. This is not about the choice of the next bishop, but of a slate of nominees, and there are many different ways that is done across the church. Moreover, most dioceses have provision for nomination by petition if the slate put forward by whoever does so is not adequate.

All that being said, and knowing the situation in Albany, I can well understand the heightened suspicions and concerns; but I don’t think this is anything to be overly worried about.

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