Who We Seek

 

The Search Committee conducted 28 Town Hall meetings throughout the state after analyzing results from an online survey that collected more than 650 responses. Here is a summary of the results of both activities.




The bishop we seek is an energetic, forward-thinking leader and pastor, able to listen carefully, find opportunity for growth, and say “Come join me.” We seek a bishop whose experience and manner of life reflect the Baptismal Covenant.  We seek someone sensitive to Christ working in the life of the diocese, and excited to join us in walking that journey.

A  strong relationship with our bishop is of central importance to all of us in the Diocese of Delaware. Our bishop will be a faithful pastor who is dedicated to unity and honoring diversity, faithful to the disciplines of the Church, and who respects the dignity of every human being. Our bishop will serve ALL the people, embrace us, recognize our gifts and challenges, and be geared towards breaking down barriers and opening up new possibilities for mission, collaboration and networking. It is important that the bishop learn and appreciate our varied cultures and see where opportunity is happening around the diocese. With the challenges of today’s church, we look for someone who is candid yet compassionate with us as we go through change, and makes tough decisions when needed. New possibilities for mission need the bishop’s support and guidance, for our mutual learning and to empower us to move outward in mission and ministry. bishstaff1We believe our bishop should be centered, self-aware, and be someone whose life is built upon scripture and prayer. Our bishop will walk with us to envision what God is calling us to do and to become, and one who will help us to understand our world through a biblical and a theological lens. Our bishop will be visible to the public and participate in addressing social issues. This presence in ministry enfolds us. In that ministry it is important for the bishop to cultivate relationships within the diocese, throughout the Greater Church, and among people of different faith traditions. We hope for a bishop who is willing to be a strong voice and ambassador to the larger church for the mission of the gospel; a collaborative leader who is not conflict-averse. In order to be effective in today’s world and to keep our message relevant and accessible, the new bishop must be a good communicator who is adept and adaptable with social media and technology. The Bishop we seek will ably marshal the efforts and skills of diocesan staff and volunteers. The future of the church is already present among us. We seek one who will walk with us as we become more Christ-centered People of the Way.


“Issues of peace and social justice are paramount. Bishop must lead diocese to become as inclusive and diverse as possible.”
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“One who is hopeful and brave.”
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x

“We need a truly dynamic and inspirational leader who can be a creative force for helping us to truly live the gospel faith through our church both in word and action.”

A people person, approachable, honest, caring, and sincere.”
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“Our bishop needs to be a transformational leader that can reach youth and young adults with a message of how their faith, as supported by the Episcopal church, can truly change their lives for the better.”


STRENGTHS of the Diocese of Delaware:

The compact size of our state means all the parishes are easily accessible by car, and despite the North/South division represented by the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Delawareans share a palpable sense of connection with each other (a commonly heard assertion is that there is “one degree of separation” between people in Delaware). As one of the original Colonial dioceses, Delaware has a rich history and longevity, and over the years our diocese has come through divisive struggles remarkably well. Our diocese is diverse racially and geographically (rural-urban, beach towns-farms, etc.) while still maintaining the collegiality mentioned above, and our proximity to major metropolitan centers offers us a unique opportunity to convene national/regional conversations. The “Delaware Way” of consensus building means that ecumenism and interfaith dialog and cooperation can flourish here. The diocese is financially stable and endowments fund many programs and ministries, and we are blessed by our youth camp, schools and pre-schools, and retreat center. Our strong Diaconate, active lay ministry, and burgeoning population of retired clergy represent resources with which to revitalize our congregations.

CHALLENGES facing the Diocese of Delaware:

As in much of the western world, declining attendance at Sunday services combined with aging congregations and accompanying decrease in pledging and giving has caused stress in many of our churches, and this stress is felt more acutely in smaller parishes. In a culture that presents a growing number of alternative activities on Sunday mornings, our rich liturgies might be viewed by newcomers or visitors as uncomfortably intricate or opaque. In an environment of rapid societal changes and decreasing engagement by (especially young) church members, there is need for leadership within the diocese regarding constructive responses by the church. Social and economic pressures have exacerbated problems of addiction, homelessness, violence, and poverty in growing swaths of our population, and the church needs to develop a comprehensive, collaborative, strategic response. Because the Cathedral is no longer operating as a beacon of ministry and stability in the troubled Concord Avenue area of Wilmington, we must find new ways to offer our help in the inner city. The economic crisis of the last decade is still being felt, and this coupled with the loss of funding and volunteerism by DuPont, MBNA and other businesses in New Castle County has created widespread challenges within our parishes. Communication, transparency, and visibility need to be enhanced in order for there to be a better connection between the Bishop and people in the pews, and especially by the new Bishop being more visible and present to people in southern Delaware.