And They're Off!

Diocese of Tennessee shieldThe names of the nominees for the 11th Bishop of Tennessee have been released. You can read more about them on the Bishop search web site. There are five nominees this go-round:

With joy and enthusiasm the Episcopate Committee of the Diocese of Tennessee presents the following persons as nominees for election as our 11th Bishop: The Rev. John C Bauerschmidt from The Diocese of Louisiana; The Rev. James L. Burns from The Diocese of New York; The Rev. Thack H. Dyson from The
Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; The Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson, Jr. from The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; and The Rev. Carter N Paden from The Diocese of East Tennessee.

I thought I would provide some initial thoughts as I read their biographies and responses to questions. Keep in mind that these are initial impressions and a thorough examination of each of the candidates and the gifts they bring will require more time and (hopefully) some interaction. I will be posting more thoughts as I have time over the next few days. I’m looking forward to meeting these men, and hope that we can put some of the past behind us. I, of all people, want a strong Bishop and felt I had an understanding
of who out of the last slate of candidates that would’ve been… but it was not to be. So, the question is, how can we be open to the guidance of the Spirit in a time like this, with the Episcopal Church in the situation it is in now. Can one of these candidates manage to be both a strong leader and a reconciler? Can they be clear and demonstrate their convictions, lead a self-defined “Windsor Diocese” that has a depth of division among its clergy and to a much lesser extent, its laity?
I’ll be up front about my bias: I became an Episcopalian so that I could be Anglican… I have no interest in being part of a small American sect, one among a plethora of ever-expanding protestant groups. My hope and prayer for the next Bishop of Tennessee is that they will first and foremost be godly–and by that I mean committed, heart and soul, to Jesus Christ and to the saving message of the gospel. I pray they will be pious and a person of prayer. I pray that the next Bishop will be a person of conviction,
and will not be afraid to state those convictions in the councils of the church. I pray they will be humble, willing to listen, but bold in action when they discern it to be of God. I pray they will be committed to the Anglican Communion, to maintaining the relationship between the world-wide Anglican family and this Diocese. I pray that our next bishop will be a leader–for that is what we truly need. I pray that whomever the next Bishop is, they will continue the commitment to church planting so emphasized
during Bishop Herlong’s episcopate. I also long for someone who will emphasize and cast a compelling vision for youth, college and young adult ministry, without neglecting the strengths we already have as a Diocese. Finally, my prayer is that the next bishop be a capable and thoughtful theologian who can clearly articulate a theological vision in the midst of the theological confusion and muddle that is today’s Episcopal Church.
Can any of these nominees do that? I pray so… now, the question is (since this is my blog) which ones strike me as possibilities?
Dwight Yoakam:Intentional Heartache:Blame the Vain[4:23]

  • Pastor David

    The only candidate that I know is Carter Paden. Father Paden attended Sewanee, and I know that from there he learned a great appreciation of what it means to be Anglican in the broadest sense (as opposed to being a partisan American).

    I am sure that they are all well-qualified candidates — at least from the short glance I gave the bios. But Father Paden is an outstanding priest, churchman, and Christian.

  • Jody+

    I am acquainted with Fr. Paden from a course I took in seminary on Restorative Justice, in which he took part. He is a good man, and from everything I hear, a good priest. I don’t know enough about his leadership abilities and his vision for ministry to say that he would make a good Bishop. I look forward to meeting all the candidates in person and hearing them speak before the election.� Thanks for the input :-).

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  • Alan

    In the general meeting at Sewanee, Fr. Bauerschmidt left a strong positive impression with me, consistent with that above. He made two comments which I found significant. In his discussion about leadership, he did say, among much else, that “he would expect the clergy to support their bishop.”

    In the individual groups, one couple asked whether as bishop he would give consent to a non-celibate homosexual bishop, ordain a non-celibate homosexual priest, or approve or allow SSU services. Bauerschmidt’s answer was short. “No, no, and no.” No hedging or equivocation.

    The two answers combined tell me he would be willing to lead rather than manage, and in a faithful direction.


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