INDIANA—The two Episcopal dioceses that serve Indiana have begun the discernment process to explore the possibility of reunifying as one single diocese and Episcopal presence in the state.
Bishop Doug Sparks of The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana and Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis have maintained a close working relationship since being elected to serve their respective dioceses in 2016 and began this conversation with members of their staff in early 2022. After sharing these discussions with their governing bodies, the two entities are moving forward to publicly outline what this exploratory process will entail.
“Bishop Jennifer and I became bishops within a year of each other and since then have been intentional about growing our relationship in our shared ministry,” said Bishop Sparks. “We know that the Holy Spirit is guiding us into this exploration of what we may further do together.”
“We have grown increasingly together as we think about how God has called us to further communicate the witness of reconciliation in the world by asking the question, ‘Is it time for us to come back together and reunify as an Episcopal presence in the state?’,” added Bishop Baskerville-Burrows.
Both The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana and The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis are encompassed within Province V of The Episcopal Church.
The reunification process would require a favorable vote from both diocesan conventions, as well as the consent of a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and a majority of standing committees of dioceses of The Episcopal Church.
Both dioceses will appoint a small group of leaders to work with a consultant in determining the best questions and next steps for discernment.
“We hope to share with you in the coming weeks those who will come together and form a team for discernment. And we ask for your prayers during this process,” said Bishop Sparks.
“There is no forgone conclusion, just an opportunity to ask what God is calling us into as Episcopalians in Indiana to do together,” continued Bishop Baskerville-Burrows.