Episcopal Questions

I am at the Northeast Jurisdictional Conference (#nej12) serving on the Hospitality Team.  Tuesday’s schedule was dedicated to the interviewing of Episcopal candidates.  There were 8 interview teams and 19 candidates (candidates profiles can be found here [.pdf] in Tuesday’s Daily Christian Advocate).  Each candidate interviewed before each interview team.  In the evening, I got to sit in on one of the interview teams as they heard from 3 candidates.

Each interview lasted 25 minutes, which turned out to be quite a lot.  Here are the questions one of the candidates was asked (somewhat edited for clarity and brevity).  This interview team asked the first four questions to each of the candidates.  Different interview teams had different approaches.

  1. Concerning the removal of guaranteed appointments, how would you ensure that appointments and removals are handled fairly (assuming the Judicial Council upholds the ruling)?
  2. As Bishop, who would you turn to as mentors?
  3. What is your plan for addressing your own “growing edges”?
  4. What issue particularly fascinates you and how would you work on that particular issue?
  5. What do you do to take care of yourself?
  6. How can we change the popular perceptions/misperceptions of what the church is about?  (The questioner referenced the book UnChrsitian.)
  7. What obstacles prevent youth ministry from growing?
  8. As Bishop, how would you address social witness issues where there is NOT unanimity?
  9. How would you help the church address social ills?
  10. How would you deal with times when the Book of Discipline conflicts with your personal convictions about the teachings of Jesus?
  11. What is one question that you have not been asked yet, that you wish you had been asked?  And how would you answer it?

Each of the 3 candidates I observed had strong answers.  I was impressed by each of them.  As a clergy awaiting a new bishop, I was particularly wondering about each candidate in the context of West Virginia.

I was also impressed by the interview team.  They offered a variety of questions, each thoughtful in their own way.  Also, these three candidates were the 15th, 16th & 17th candidates that the team had interviewed.  By this time, the group had begun to share some humor about the grueling schedule.  My observation was that despite their fatigue they were still engaged in the process.  The youth delegates asked good questions.  The lay delegates asked good questions.  The clergy delegates asked good questions.  And how the candidates addressed each question made an impression.  It gave me an appreciation for the office of Bishop as well as the church’s need for engaged and conscientious clergy and laity.  In the end, the best answers were given to the best questions.  The church will be better for it.

Image via @Anniemac24

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