Our Unique Election Process

Part of the story of the Diocese of Springfield is its uniquely transparent process for electing a bishop.  There is no search committee that assembles a slate; instead, anyone who completes the nomination process and passes the required reference and background checks will be a nominee.

A letter from the Very Rev. Ronald H. Clingenpeel, elections consultant from the Office of Pastoral Development of the Episcopal Church speaks to our process:

Greetings in Jesus Christ,

The Diocese of Springfield is a wonderful and special place in the Episcopal Church.  It is like no other diocese – which, frankly, is true of every diocese.  Each has its own history and life and culture.  This diocese does things a bit differently, and that is good, because by working with and viewing others we find ways in which we can grow.  Besides, would it not be boring if every diocese were exactly the same?  We learn from one another and the election ministry of the Diocese of Springfield is helpful to the rest of the Church.

I am a search consultant with more than 20 years of experience in Episcopal elections.  Working with more than 25 dioceses, I have discovered many new and helpful ways in which to improve the process.  When Springfield began this current process, the Office of Pastoral Development of the Episcopal Church asked to place an election consultant here to learn from this diocese and bring these learnings to the Church.  Already, that participation has paid dividends as the Diocese of Ecuador Central will be using a very similar process in their election.  Your ministry is affecting another part of the Church.

Your process leaves the nominating up to the people.  There is no Search Committee, but rather an Election Committee that surveys to diocese, prepares a profile, receives nominations, conducts background checks and references, and then presents the nominees to the diocese.  Then the diocese meets in convention to choose the final candidates.  Those candidates visit the diocese and then an Electing Convention chooses the next bishop.  This allows for transparency in the process and also proves to be cost effective when searching for a new bishop.

Working with your Standing Committee and Election Committee has been a joy and I believe we have learned much from one another.  Not only is your process being shared with other dioceses, but the hard work of the communication audit done by your Elections Committee may become a standard recommendation for other dioceses.  Your process, and especially the people who are working hard to make it happen, is something that smaller dioceses can use to streamline what they do; it is something that requires a different focus on selecting a bishop; it is something that brings a tradition forward and still accepts the necessary changes to make it work in the 21st Century.

What happens here makes a difference, not only in the Diocese of Springfield, but in the whole Church.  Choosing a bishop affects the rest of the Church, but also, the way in which that person is called affects the Church.   What you do here is important.

The Very Rev. Ronald H. Clingenpeel, Elections Consultant

The Profile is available, and Nominations are open on June 4, 2021.  Nominations close on June 30, 2021.  The nominees who pass the required reference and background checks and their relevant application materials will be made public to the people of the Diocese no later than September 14, 2021.

A Nominating Synod, in conjunction with our Annual Synod, will be held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Springfield, Illinois, on October 15 and 16, 2021.  It will narrow the field to three candidates.

Between October 25 and November 20, 2021, we anticipate providing opportunities for us to meet the three candidates during visits to locations around the Diocese.  During that time, each candidate will take part in separate video interviews responding to several additional questions.

Finally, there will be an Electing Synod on December 11, 2021, leading to the consecration of the 12th Bishop of Springfield on May 21, 2022, pending final checks and consents.  The chief consecrator will be The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church.

Year 2021

June 4              
Profile, Guidelines, and Nomination Packages are posted and distributed

June 30                 

Deadline for receiving completed Nominations and Applications for Bishop from the nominators and nominees.

September 14         Holy Cross Day
Booklet with Nominations distributed to Synod Delegates, who will convene as a Nominating Synod

October 15/16       Teresa of Avila {15th}, Hugh Latimer & Nicholas Ridley, Bishops and martyrs, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury {16th}

Regular Diocesan plus Nominating Synods convene to select candidates for the 12th Bishop of Springfield. Cathedral Church of Saint Paul the Apostle, Springfield, Illinois

October 25 
(Tabitha (Dorcas) of Joppa) – November 20 (Edmund, King 870)
Meet the Candidates

December 11
Electing Synod convenes to elect the 12th Bishop of Springfield. Cathedral Church of Saint Paul the Apostle, Springfield, Illinois


Year 2022

January 14              Richard Meux Benson, Priest and Charles Gore, Bishop, 1915 and 1932

    • The Bishop Elect’s required or supplemental background checks plus required physical and psychological exams completed
    • Consent Process begins

Holy Week – April 10 Palm Sunday – April 17 Easter Sunday

May 21           Lydia of Thyatira, Coworker of the Apostle Paul 

Ordination of the 12th Bishop of Springfield, The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, chief consecrator. Location: TBD


** NOTE – Dates are subject to change given the Covid19 pandemic and any unforeseen circumstances**


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