The Diocese of Pennsylvania will meet in special convention Jan. 12 to act on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s recommendation that it call the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III as its provisional bishop.
Bishop Daniel, who has led the Diocese of East Carolina for 16 years, informed his standing committee Jan. 4 [PDF] that he will resign his office Feb. 28.
“Bishop Daniel is a deeply Christian person who listens, builds consensus, works with Diocesan leadership effectively, and cares about the work and life of the congregations and missions of the Church,” said an announcement letter from the Rev. Ledlie I. Laughlin, president of Pennsylvania’s standing committee, and the Rev. Kathryn Andonian, standing committee member and rector of Church of the Holy Spirit in Harlesyville. “We believe that Bishop Daniel will bring healing and gracious leadership to our Diocese.”
An FAQ by chancellor Mary Kohart and another attorney, Stephen Chawaga, says the election protocol requires a representative turnout of priests and delegates.
“At least half of those in each Order who are eligible to be seated and to vote must attend the Special Convention in order for a quorum to be declared,” they wrote. “A quorum is needed for each Order. This is significantly more than usually attend our Diocesan Conventions so we must make a particular effort to ensure a full turn-out on January 12.”
The same document explains why the special convention will vote only on one nominee for the office.
Church canons require that any diocese calling a bishop provisional must consult with the Presiding Bishop.
“The Presiding Bishop has a policy which provides that a Diocese seeking to call a Bishop Provisional must use a highly confidential interview and selection process and may present only one name to its Convention,” the attorney wrote. “The Presiding Bishop’s policy, as we understand it, was adopted to encourage the broadest number of Bishops in our Church who may feel called to serve as the Bishop Provisional in a particular Diocese to seek that position privately and without fear that their interest in serving as a Bishop Provisional will complicate their current positions. An open or a contested selection process by a Diocese would defeat this goal and, from our perspective, would have likely limited the number of Bishops willing to consider becoming our Bishop Provisional.”
The attorneys added: “The Standing Committee met with a broad cross-section of Diocesan leadership to solicit their views; we collated those views at the end of the process so that we had in place a list of the qualities which the Diocese thought most important in a Provisional Bishop, as well as the tasks they believed he or she would be required to perform. From this list, the Standing Committee developed a job description which the Presiding Bishop’s office provided to interested candidates, a series of questions each candidate would respond to in writing, and an interview template. But, not even the entire Standing Committee knew the names of all interested candidates or even the names of the final individuals from which the Bishop Provisional would be selected. In honoring the Presiding Bishop’s wishes, we also learned the extent and depth to which we were willing to trust each other’s judgment and focus on the best interests of our Diocese.”
Photo of Bishop Clifton Daniel III from St. Philip’s at Thomas Landing, Holly Ridge, North Carolina