Bishop Election — I have some questions

Chess_bishop_0970While I’ve served in three dioceses in my vocational life (Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts), I’ve never experienced a bishop election. Every time I leave a diocese, they elect a new bishop. I try not to take this personally but I’m finally getting my chance to exercise my right to vote as we prepare to elect the next Bishop of Massachusetts tomorrow.

Since I’m a novice, I do have a few questions. Perhaps some of you who have been through this process can enlighten me.

1. Is wearing purple to an episcopal election as big a social faux pas as wearing white to a wedding?

2. Do you need to sit on the east side of the cathedral since by the time voting gets to the west end the election will have already been decided?

3. Can we pretty please call it a “conclave?”

4. Is electioneering allowed within 50 feet of the altar?

5. Is it like Cinderella except instead of a slipper all the candidates try on a miter to see which one it fits?

6. If we all collectively decide not to cast any votes because we don’t actually want a bishop, will ecclesiastical anarchy ensue?

7. White smoke or purple?

8. Can we defrock the first cleric who friends the new bishop on Facebook?

9. If there is an election controversy, do we appeal to Saint (Hanging) Chad of Lichfield?

10. Does the winner get a free nautilus tattoo on a body part to be named later?

Well, those are my questions. Please keep the Diocese of Massachusetts and all the candidates in your prayers. Live updates will be posted here and if you want to follow along on Twitter tomorrow, check the hashtag #Diomass.

 


9 Comments on “Bishop Election — I have some questions”

  1. marguerite says:

    Actually, I thought this was all done with a sorting hat/mitre. No?

  2. Relling Westfall says:

    Holly was the assistant rector at St. Paul’s in Richmond when I was a member there. I spoke of her today at Lenten Lunches, where she is very fondly remembered. Go Holly!

  3. Katrina Soto says:

    Very good questions, none of which occurred to me when I was a delegate in a bishop election. Actually, two Bishops Suffragan! Exciting stuff. First bishop elected on first ballot. Next one took several. May it be thrilling for you.

  4. randallday says:

    1. Yes. It will say they should have chosen you or that you are available to be drafted from the floor. Pathetic pose. Several of your colleagues already have their (tasteful) purple outfits layed out and ready to go.

    2. It is decided in the West end where everyone huddles between votes. Definitely sit there unless you want to be left out of the between vote “non-electioneering” that “doesn’t” take place.

    3. No.

    4. No. But, again, you won’t find them there.

    5. That would be far too easy.

    6. Someone will cave. If we can’t all collectively do ANYTHING else this is not going to be the starting point…

    7. It’s a non-smoking area.

    8. Too late. Several of your clergy colleagues have already friended ALL of the candidates.

    9. You could appeal to Henry Winter Syle to lead the blind… Matthias for casting lots when all else fails…

    10. Yes, but that won’t bother you. It’s the nautilus cope and miter that will do you in.

  5. Father Tim says:

    Thanks, Randall. I now feel prepared!

  6. Steve Seely says:

    You raise interesting points. You want to really add the “wow” factor, skype with the bishop elect from the convention. It is truly an incredibly exciting moment! We did it 3 years ago when we elected a new bishop in the diocese of Washington (DC)

  7. Lanina123. says:

    The most important thing is to tweet or text proceedings to those of us who care about a candidate, but have no power in the process. This is to relieve false hope or straight nausea. A celebration in Hingham by 3pm would be nifty! ( But only if our candidate wins!)

  8. Jay Croft says:

    To: Randall Day,

    Henry Winter Syle was the first DEAF person to be ordained. Deacon in 1876, priest in 1883. His entire ministry was among Deaf people, as mine has been.

    I am the 41st Deaf person, after Syle, to be ordained.

  9. I smiled at your wearing purple question. I belong to another mainline denomination, and one of my denominational colleagues attended an ecumenical service wearing a fetching purple clerical shirt and collar. The Rainbow priest almost had an aneurysm. The Anglican (Episcopal) preist-who was a friend-commented “I could not have been more surprised if you’d walked in wearing a wedding dress.”


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