November 29, 2013

Episcopal Elections

Over at Facebook I posted a comment, as follows, which has engendered a lively discussion.

I am distressed to see that our upcoming election for a suffragan bishop includes provision for caucusing spaces (in the chapels, no less), seconding speeches, and all the paraphernalia of politics. The only times listed for prayer are the opening Eucharist and at Noonday.

I was asked by two of the candidates if I’d give the “seconding” speech. To both I noted that I couldn’t in conscience, as I think these speeches are unnecessary (the diocesan canon allows for them but doesn’t require them) and they contribute to the “popularity contest” that is already too much of the process.

I'd love it if we spent 20 minutes in silent prayer — or singing Taiz√© or the Psalms — after each ballot instead of caucusing.

But in New York that is likely a lost cause... :-(

What’s your perspective? Or the practice in your diocese? As far as I know, for background, the “caucus model” in NY dates back to the election of Bishop Grein; right after the first ballot, dearly beloved suffragan (and Visitor to BSG) Bishop Walter Dennis, who was the front-runner, collapsed and was rushed to hospital (he recovered, Deo gratias, but was out of the election.) This threw the election into chaos and people started gathering in affinity agglutinations in the various chaples motu proprio. Now it is the way things are done.

Weigh in here or at FB.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Anonymous said...

I think providing for caucusing is probably okay, especially if the rules specify that it should be done in prayer. I find more problematic that the only people who are considered are those who have applied for the office. Where is the opportunity for the electors to say to a person who has not applied, "We think you are the one"? And proceed to elect him or her over his or her objection?

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

I'm with you Tobias. In Long Island I don't recall any "seconding" speeches, but elections for our previous Diocesans had much politicking going on and I think the results speak for themselves.

Our current Diocesan went through the "walkabout" process and the electing Convention was done in the manner you prefer.

So far the outcome of this has spoken very well for itself.

Marshall Scott said...

In our most recent elections in West Missouri (two years ago and almost twenty years ago) there was no official caucusing, nor during the election itself even much time for conversation. There was certainly prayer (I do think before each ballot), and casual conversations.

That's not to say that there were no conversations outside the electing convention. That, though, is beyond our control.

That said, while I understand the need to do background checks in advance for all candidates, I do miss the possibility of real nominations from the floor.