16 Questions for Bishop Candidates

Nominees Composite Ready for Pub.img_assist_custom-500x114While I’ve served in three different dioceses (Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts) over the past 13+ years, I’ve never participated in an election for a new bishop. Pretty much every time I leave a diocese the bishop retires and there’s a call for an election — which I try not to read too much into. This week the slate of five nominees to become the 16th Bishop of Massachusetts was announced. I’m hopeful for the end result and am thankful for the priests willing to enter this vulnerable and exciting time of discernment.

Of course I’ve also been formulating questions to ask at the to-be-scheduled walkabouts/dog and pony shows where all the candidates present themselves and answer questions. Since I can’t be at all of them, I’m offering my list for others to utilize.

“Will you insist your bishop’s ring be larger and blingier than the 2013 Red Sox World Series ring?”

“Do you prefer to be called Your Grace or Your Lordship?” **

“Will you start wearing hideous vestments just because they were hand made for you by Sunday School children?”

“Do you Tweet? If so, perhaps following @FatherTim is not in your best interest.”

“If you use social media will you commit to never using the phrase ‘the good people of St. XX’ as in ‘I had a great visitation with the good people of St. John’s today.'”

episcopalian-bishop“When it comes to miters, do you believe size really does matter?”

“Do you feel that any seat a bishop sits in automatically become the Bishop’s Throne even if it’s at McDonalds?”

“Do you prefer purple purple or reddish purple?” **

“Will you return Confirmation to parishes or do you prefer 3 1/2 hour liturgies that forever sour teenagers on the Church?”

“Do you believe a pectoral cross should channel the spirit of Flavor Flav?”flavor-flav-200-020608

“How do you feel about mentioning Jesus in letters responding to world events?”

“Where do you stand on the issue of the Cathedral Nautilus?”

“Do you promise not to use the phrase ‘humbled and honored’ in your acceptance speech?”

“Will there be liturgical dance that involves orange chiffon at your consecration?”

“Do you currently or have you ever owned a clergy shirt in any color other than black?”

“What’s your position on clergy from Hingham who like to live-snark diocesan convention?”

** I grudgingly acknowledge that my archnemesis, Scott Gunn, came up with this question.


9 Comments on “16 Questions for Bishop Candidates”

  1. Relling says:

    Wow. I hope the experience won’t be disappointing. One always hopes for so much. Listening to the preferences and questions of others in your diocese can be so, so sobering. I know one of your candidates from a placement in Richmond. I will be really interested in seeing who you all pick. Just don’t go witht he blonde….but then you don’t have one, so that’s not a problem for you. Things are looking up already!

  2. Millie Hart says:

    I will be using some of these later this spring when East Carolina puts on its dog & pony show for our candidates for bishop.

  3. Meredith Gould says:

    The liturgical dance question is a trick one, right? The response should be ix-nay the orange chiffon and use colors appropriate to the liturgical season, right?

  4. Father Steve says:

    This is exceptionally well done. It took me back to my own experience as a nominee and reminded me of why I would never wish to repeat that process.

  5. Susan Chandler says:

    Holy Moly!

  6. Phil LaBelle says:

    Bonus points if you get these asked and live-tweet the responses.

  7. Terry says:

    You forgot to ask if candidates wives are good cooks. (How many times married is not relevant in this context, is it?) Oh, yes, and does the little woman/man make vestments at home in the evenings? One cannot be too careful.

  8. Ann Willis Scott says:

    if you really want to know what the bishop candidates think, ask them why you are asking these particular questions…their answers will tell you a whole helluva lot. If they dismiss them…dismiss him/her quickly. Please…

  9. Mark says:

    Not exactly the top tier of wannabe bishops out there right now, eh? I blame the nautilus…


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