Christ Church, Christiana Hundred
Wednesday, June 28th
by Danny Schweers
Who would think that competition could be so easy going and collegial? The five nominees vying to be the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware spoke before a packed audience at Christ Church Christiana Hundred on June 28, 2017, the first of three “Walkabout” events. Over 300 people had gathered in the parish hall to get a look at and listen to these five candidates, only one of whom will be elected the 11th Bishop of Delaware at a special convention that begins Saturday, July 15 in Middletown.
Although the five clergy had been together only a short time touring the diocese, already they had formed a mutual admiration society of sorts, each one pleased to be included in the others’ company, and pleased to be welcomed by the Diocese of Delaware. They worked so well together on stage, joking and giving each other compliments, and had such positive views of the future of the Episcopal Church, that one audience member said they wished they could elect all five. Whichever one is elected, it is clear that the Search Committee did excellent work by selecting these five from the over 50 clergy who asked to be considered.
St. Peter’s, Lewes
Thursday, June 29th
by Jen Mason
What can draw a standing room only crowd indoors on a beautiful June night at the beach? Five candidates for bishop answering five questions each about themselves and the future of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware. Clergy and laity gathered to fill the nave at St. Peter’s in Lewes, listening attentively for over two hours as each candidate introduced themselves and answered a series of questions prepared by diocesan leadership – both prepared and impromptu.
While there were similar themes binding the night together, like the centrality of the Jesus Movement and the importance of prayer, the candidates painted distinct pictures of how they each saw their roles as shepherds of our diocese.
What I really appreciated, said Eleanor Hodges, a parishioner of St. Peter’s, was seeing that any one of the candidates could make a fine and worthy leader of our diocese. I now know that I won’t be disappointed in the election of any of them.
Another sentiment repeated by attendees was how helpful it was to see the candidates in person. One parishioner from All Saints ’ , Rehoboth Beach, who preferred to remain anonymous put it this way, It was so helpful to see [the candidates] in action. I came into this evening with an idea of who my favorites were based on the reading I’d done so far, but my opinions have shifted as I’ve listened to each of them speak.
For my daughter and I, the best part of the night was the reception following the forum. We laughed – a lot – and felt excited to know that whoever comes to join us as our next bishop will bring his or her whole self to this ministry with us, and, like Eleanor, we felt certain that any one of these five could lead us ably into the next chapter of the life of our diocese.
Christ Church, Dover
Friday, June 30th
by Lee Ann Walling
Friday’s walkabout in Kent County began with a tour of the Old State House in Dover and a luncheon at Christ Church. On the final night of General Assembly and the beginning of the Fourth of July weekend, almost 100 people turned out to meet and listen to the candidates at the last forum.
“On the walkabout, it was quite evident that everywhere they went they were highly impressed with our churches, congregations and institutions that they visited,” said Jon Rania, lay ministry associate at Christ Church Dover and a member of the Standing Committee. Praising both the Search and Transition committees for their work, he remarked, “It struck me about 10 minutes into our first gathering at Christ Church Dover that in this room one of them will, with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, be named in just a few weeks.”
Karen Speakman, a delegate and member of Christ Church said, “It was enlightening to hear the five candidates’ thoughts about who they are, how they would address growth in our churches, their wishes for our diocese, and to get a glimpse into their spirituality.
“I cannot imagine being a delegate without having heard each one express themselves and meeting each candidate for bishop. It was eye opening and a great experience,” she added.
Afterward, the audience and candidates mingled at the Parish Hall reception. “The question and answer format helped me learn about their qualities and values,” said Celeste Landon, a member of Christ Church Dover. “The reception was helpful so we could chat in a more relaxed atmosphere.”