As I’m sure many of you know, the electing convention yesterday was unsuccessful after a deadlock between some of the clergy and the bulk of the laity as to which candidate they wanted for Bishop. Titusonenine covered the voting (the results of which were published live on the web) and there was lots of response (337 comments to be exact, and visitors from all over the world, from Uganda to Great Britain). We were all certainly thankful for the many prayers that people lifted up for us. There has subsequently been much discussion regarding the trends exhibited by the ballots (You can see those threads here and here). Additionally, the Tennessean had a decent description of events, which you can see here.
Basically the scenario was this: throughout the day Canon Neal Michell of the Diocese of Dallas led among the laity, never receiving less than 50.4% of the lay vote and accounting for 60.6% on ballot #4 where he peaked. He finished the day with 55.9% of the lay vote (66.7 is the magic number). Clearly the laity have a good idea of what direction they would like the Diocese to go and who they believe will cast the best vision for that task. They were rock-solid through nearly 10 hours of voting (and remember, no matter how much Christian love you have for the people in your midst, 10 hours in a fairly hot church sanctuary will strain your charity!).
The clergy however were a different story, and in a situation illustrative of the divide present in all old-line protestant denominations, they consistently split 50/40 (remember there were 4 candidate to account for a few percentage points) with the bulk siding against the plurality of the laity and going for either Winston Charles or Jay Magness. Now the interesting thing is that there appears to have been a concerted strategy among the more liberal delegations and clergy to support Charles first (who, it had been mused by the orthodox side, had been nominated as a straw man) and then switch to Magness as a “compromise” candidate. Indeed, many revisionist clergy had sought to paint Magness as a centrist, someone that they would rather not have (Charles being their boy), but that they’d be willing to “settle” for. Ironically many reasserters had already come to the conclusion that Magness would in fact be worse than Charles because of his refusal to distance himself from Bishop Gulick in Kentucky. Indeed, folks spoke with their orthodox friends in Kentucky and found that he was not a friend of the orthodox…as a matter of fact, Magness himself all but admitted this when he said during the walk-abouts the he got along better with the GLBT folks in his diocese than he did with the orthodox. Additionally, his continual response that he would “have to check the canons” and that he would make the chancellor of the diocese his “best friend” also turned some people off. But perhaps the most damaging thing to any of the candidates other than Michell is that they have not demonstrated an ability or interest in Church planting or growth. Both Charles and Cox preside over parishes that have lost membership in their tenures and Magness has very little parish experience, having been a Navy Chaplain for the majority of his career. This creates a fairly stark choice if the people of the diocese, if they want to continue the growth and direction of Bishop Herlong’s episcopate, or go the way of the
Dodo rest of the Episcopal Church and decline in membership, especially among the young.
currently playing: 88.7 WNCW