Searching for the 10th Bishop of Wyoming
As you may know, the Diocese of Wyoming is in the process of electing the 10th Bishop of Wyoming as Bishop Smylie is retiring.
Some of us have been a part of a search process before either with a priest or a bishop (here at St. John's our search process brought us the our loving leader, Jimmy Bartz). While the search process is somewhat similar, there's a lot more that goes into electing a bishop.
How the process works:
- A group of individuals were invited to be on the Bishop search committee. That group searched for and interviewed many candidates for bishop. They brought forth the Rev. David L. Duprey and the Rev. Canon Paul Gordon-Chandler. The Rev. Mary Erickson petitioned in to be the 3rd candidate.
- Once the candidates are chosen, the Standing and Transition Committees move in. The Standing Committee is elected by the diocesan convention. Half of its members are clerical, half lay leaders. It serves as the bishop's council of advice. The Transition Committee is responsible for organizing the Electing Convention, Walkabout, Consecration of the new bishop, Goodbye celebration for the Bishop. They organize most events occurring from the time the candidates are chosen until the new bishop is elected and consecrated in February 2021.
- The next big event is the Walkabout. What's that you ask? A walkabout is essentially a meet and greet, in which the candidates, in our case three people, travel around to 30 churches in the diocese to chat with parishioners and answer questions about their potential role as bishop. Each of the 30 churches is given a time slot. Anyone is invited to attend any session at any church in the diocese to interact with the candidates. This year all walkabout events will follow Covid-19 precautions including social distancing and mask wearing. If you are unable to physically make it to a walkabout there will be an opportunity to catch many of the sessions online. We will be live streaming and recording sessions so all have the chance to get to know the candidates.
- After the walkabout, the candidates will have a few weeks before the electing convention. At the convention, clergy and lay persons from the diocese will vote for the next bishop. The voting clergy are canonically resident clergy of the Diocese of Wyoming (if you have questions about what this means contact Catherine). The lay voters are delegates chosen by their parish. This year, the electing convention will be held at the Clarion Inn at Platte River in Casper. This space allows for all voters to attend and practice social distancing. Due to the pandemic registration and attendance will be restricted to designated lay and clergy voting delegates only.
- Once the candidate is chosen by voting the next big event is the new bishop's Consecration, which will take place in February.
- In non-pandemic times, we celebrate the role of the outgoing bishop at some time after the convention and before the consecration. Due to this years uncertainly, Bishop Smylie and his wife Jill will be postponing their departure celebration.
To find out more about this process there is a bishop search section of the Diocesan website: