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A Message from Bishop Susan Goff: Our Responsibility in the Election Process

May 6, 2022 | News Releases

Dear Friends in Christ,

This afternoon the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia announced the decision of a majority of its members not to add any petition candidates to the slate for the election of the 14th Bishop Diocesan. Some of you have heard the news with surprise. I write to you with a reflection and an invitation as you receive this news and as we as a Diocese move toward the election on June 4.

The Standing Committee is made up of six clergy and six lay members who are elected by the delegates to Diocesan Convention. Two clergy and two lay persons are elected each year from a slate of those nominated by their congregations, regions or other organizations, or who self-nominate. The delegates to Convention who elect them are themselves elected by vestries, who are elected by congregations. Through this democratic process, all people of the Diocese have a voice in electing the Standing Committee and responsibility for the work of the Standing Committee.

Responsibility for the selection of nominees for a Bishop, according to the Canons (Church laws) of the Diocese of Virginia, rests in the hands of the Standing Committee. The Bishop calls for an election, then the Standing Committee designs the process, appoints the Search and Transition Committees and oversees the petition process. Our Standing Committee has done that work according to the process they designed.

The design and outcome of the process belong to the Standing Committee and questions may be addressed to them at standingcommittee@thediocese.net.  Just as importantly, responsibility for our democratic election process in The Episcopal Church and in the Diocese of Virginia belongs to all the people of this Diocese, both lay and ordained.

I therefore invite you to:

  • Take your place in the Conventions and other democratic processes of our Church;
  • Pray about and work toward the election of strong candidates for Standing Committee at our Convention in November;
  • Identify any places of brokenness in our structures and systems, and work in concrete ways toward healing them;
  • Pray for our democratic process, giving thanks for the ways it serves us well, seeking to revise the ways it does not;
  • Pray for all delegates who will vote in the June 4 election;
  • Pray for the Nominees;
  • Pray for the Standing Committee;
  • Pray for the Church.

God give us grace to continue faithful conversation about the experiences that hurt and divide us. God give us the courage to work for healthy growth and healing change.

A Collect for the Church

Gracious God, we pray for your holy catholic church. Fill it

with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,

purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is

amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in

want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake

of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, page 816

Your Sister in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff

Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority