The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
Transition Committee

Frequently Asked Questions

Bethlehem Bishop Search The frequently asked questions are still being gathered. Is there something you'd like to know?

If so, email your questions to the committee at

How long does a bishop search take?
In our Diocese the process from the appointment of the Search Committee, which was done in March 2017, until the electing convention on April 28, 2018 will take 13 months.

What happens during this period of time?
There are three major phases of this important decision. The first two phases are lengthy. The first phase is the creation and publication of a profile about our Diocese and what we seek in a new bishop.

A second lengthy phase, and arguably the most important (and time-consuming), begins with the receipt and evaluation of nominations until a slate of 3 to 5 candidates is given to the Standing Committee. This process takes at least 6 months. Once finalists have been identified, there will be in-depth background and reference checks. The Search Committee will then present a list of 3 to 5 candidates to the Standing Committee in early February 2018.

After this list of candidates is published to the Standing Committee, a third phase begins. During this time there will be a period for accepting additional nominations by petition to the Standing Committee. Background checks will also be done on individuals properly nominated by petition. There will also be several “walk about opportunities” around the Diocese where open public forums with the nominees gives everyone a chance to meet them, ask questions of them and hear their responses.

Once the election has been completed at a special convention of the diocese (April 28, 2018), the Standing Committee must receive the consents for the consecration of the Bishop-Elect from a majority of the Bishops Diocesan of the Church and a majority of the Standing Committees of the dioceses. Only after these procedural requirements have been met can the consecration take place.

How will you communicate with us and what can you communicate with us?
The first phase when we are gathering information about our Diocese to create a profile of who we are and the qualities, characteristics, and work experience we desire in a new bishop is open. We will share important developments with you on our website, through Facebook, emails and other media.

The second phase when we are receiving and evaluating nominees is confidential. Out of respect to the nominees and their current ministries, we must honor their privacy while they are in discernment with us. As you can imagine, it could be very disruptive for a person’s current congregation or ministry to learn that she or he might be considering accepting a new call before the final slate of candidates is made public. During this time, we will not be able to share how many nominees we have, how many are remaining in our process, or whether an individual is or is not part of our pool.

The third phase begins once a slate of candidates is given to the Standing Committee in early February 2018. This phase is very open. At this time there will be an opportunity for petition candidates who are not presented on the slate to be considered and there will be open, public gatherings throughout the diocese to meet the candidates in person.

Who is eligible to become bishop?
Any priest who is at least 30 years old is eligible for ordination and consecration as a bishop. Also, any suffragan bishop of a diocese is eligible for election as a bishop. A suffragan bishop is an assisting bishop who does not automatically succeed a diocesan bishop. Note that the Constitution and Canons require a bishop to resign upon attaining the age of 72.

For further information on the eligibility of a bishop,
see Article II of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church at this link:

What are the duties of the Search Committee?
The Search and Nominating Committee will:

  1. Develop and oversee a process for creating a diocesan profile
  2. Receive nominations
  3. Evaluate the qualifications of those being considered
  4. Submit to the Standing Committee at least three nominees who have consented to stand for election and whose backgrounds have been received and approved
  5. Publish complete profiles of the nominees and any other educational material deemed helpful

What are the duties of the Transition Committee?
The Transition Committee will:

  1. Provide “walkabout” opportunities for all nominees to meet with as many members of the Diocese as possible
  2. Provide hospitality for the candidates and their families
  3. Hold the primary responsibility for the planning of the Consecration and/or Seating of the new Bishop
  4. Assist the Bishop in adapting to and being introduced to the Diocesan Community
  5. Provide for the transition of the retiring Bishop from office

Who appoints the people on the Search and Nominating Committee and the Transition Committee?
The Standing Committee of our diocese appoints people to these committees in accordance with the Constitution and Canons governing our diocese.

Do members of the Search and Nominating Committee have a particular constituency they are representing (e.g. representatives from larger parishes, smaller parishes, regions of the Diocese)?
No. Everyone on the Search and Nominating Committee is charged to put aside individual agendas and to represent the whole of the diocese by arriving at a consensus for the nominees.

How do I nominate someone for bishop?
The Search Committee will begin receiving names in Mid July 2017. An announcement and instructions on how to submit a nomination will go out at that time. Before you nominate someone, you should ask the person to study our diocesan profile first, which will be published in early in July 2017. This will give potential nominees an overview of the diocese, share what we’ve heard in the listening process from laity and clergy, and identify the gifts, skills, and qualities we seek in our new bishop. Once that is public, we’ll then accept nominations. Also, before nominating someone, it is advisable to ask him or her if he or she has any interest in or calling to the position.

Will we know the list of everyone who applies?
No. In order to respect the confidentiality of everyone who applies, we will publish only the list of the names of the candidates on the final slate presented to the Standing Committee.

Who votes at the election of the new bishop?
The election will be conducted by a special session of the Diocesan Convention on April 28, 2018. The voting membership of the Convention is composed of members of the Clergy canonically resident in the Diocese and lay delegates, elected as members in accordance with the Canons of our diocese. These groups constitute one deliberative body. Clergy and lay delegates will vote by orders, that is to say, separately, and a two-thirds concurrent vote in each order is necessary for the election of a bishop. Please note that the delegates elected at annual Parish Meetings held (as directed by Canon) in January 2018 will be the delegates voting at the special convention in April 2018.

When will the ordination of the new bishop happen??
The ordination of the new bishop will take place Saturday September 15, 2018 at The First Presbyterian Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania. More details will follow.

Bishop Search
© 2017 The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, 333 Wyandotte Street / Bethlehem, PA. 18015