The Standing Committee of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina on June 11 issued a letter to the people of the diocese regarding transition plans for episcopal leadership. A copy of the letter can be viewed here, and the text of the letter follows.
Dear Faithful People of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,
“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-13
In January of this year, your Standing Committee began exploring options for the future of the Episcopacy in our diocese. Over the course of these past several months we have discerned that our diocese is ready for the next faithful step as we continue to “grow into the full stature of Christ.”
In our meeting on May 23, the Standing Committee voted unanimously to initiate a process that will lead to our calling for the election of a full-time Bishop Diocesan. With that goal in mind, the Standing Committee is working to find a full-time Bishop Provisional who can provide episcopal leadership during the transition period ahead.
As you are aware, Bishop Skip Adams has been our Bishop Provisional for nearly three years and plans to conclude his time with us by the end of 2019, or as soon as a successor is in place. Bishop Adams has been working on a part-time basis for these three years, and both he and the Standing Committee are convinced that our next bishop needs to be full-time to meet the needs of this growing Diocese.
Therefore, the Standing Committee continues to work in consultation with the Right Rev. Todd Ousley of the Episcopal Church’s Office for Pastoral Development on two fronts: First, to identify persons for the Standing Committee to consider for the role of full-time bishop to serve our diocese in the interim, and second, to prepare for an official call to election for a full-time Bishop Diocesan.
As you may know, electing a bishop is to engage in a significant process of discernment. From the time such a call is issued until a new bishop is ordained and consecrated typically takes 18 months to 2 years. The Standing Committee will oversee that process, which typically includes the formation of search and transition committees, the creation of a diocesan profile, and a period of nominations before the slate is announced. An electing convention would be called. The election then must receive consent from a majority of the House of Bishops and a majority of the Standing Committees of the 110 other dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Upon the successful completion of the canonical consent process, the bishop-elect can be ordained and consecrated.
We are developing a plan and timeline for this process in consultation with Bishop Ousley and will be able to announce more details in the weeks ahead. Please know the Standing Committee is committed to keep everyone informed along the way and to be as clear and transparent as possible throughout the process.
Please remember that we are at the very beginning of what we believe to be a major step forward in “building up the body of Christ” in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. We will continue to update you on the next steps as they unfold.
Your Standing Committee asks that prayers begin for all involved in this process. Pray for +Skip, our bishop, the councils and committees of our diocese; for all diocesan leadership and all who might be called upon to serve in this process. Most of all, we ask your prayers for those persons whom the Holy Spirit will call forward to provide episcopal leadership for our Diocese.
The Standing Committee of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina