Wayne Smith's occasional blog of pilgrimages and journeys

Monday, March 16, 2009

HOB: Sunday and Monday

A day of worship and welcome rest on Sunday gave me space for prayer, reading, exercise, and a restorative nap. The evening was devoted to a "fireside chat" with Katharine, our Presiding Bishop, who briefed us on such diverse matters as the primates' meeting, the renewing dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, and Quincy, budget development for the next triennium, the episcopal election in Northern Michigan, and other odds and ends. The energies of the House, as we responded in conversation, drew toward the current economic challenges and what they mean for the Episcopal Church and its dioceses. There is hardly the sense that going forward means business as usual, with only minor course corrections along the way.

Come Monday morning, we followed the usual routine of Morning Prayer and Bible study. But then came something entirely unusual (but canonical), in that we began considering the election of a bishop for Ecuador Central. I do not mean that we had the matter of consents to an election already held; we, the House of Bishops had been asked to elect a bishop, on behalf of the Diocese. The convention of any diocese in fact may ask the House of Bishops to elect a bishop on their behalf. (Canon III.11.1.b). They seldom do. Ecuador Central's Provisional Bishop, Wilfrido Ramos-Orench, addressed the House, explaining the depth of conflict and distrust in the diocese, making the appeal to the House of Bishops a reasonable one, even necessary.

The three nominees are:

Thomas G. Mansella, Diocese of Virginia
Servio Rhadames Moscoso, Diocese of New Jersey
Luis Fernando Ruiz, Diocese of Colombia

Each nominee made a brief introductory statement, in Spanish (with immediate translation), and then the House broke into three groups for questions and answers with each candidate in sequence. Balloting comes during the business session Tuesday evening. I am feeling both the weight of responsibility in voting and the hope for Ecuador Central, represented in the election before us.

And I will spare you, and myself, the tedium of details of Monday afternoon's business session. You would have recognized it as a Church meeting--full of seriousness, punctuations of laughter, with the occasional parliamentary knot to puzzle over. Yes, you would have recognized it.

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