The Bishop’s E-pistle: Are You Called to Serve?

At our Diocesan Convention in October, we will be electing new clergy and lay members of our Standing Committee, and clergy and lay deputies to General Convention.

Might God be calling you to serve in one of these roles? My prayer is that both bodies will reflect the wisdom and diversity of our whole diocese. Nomination information and forms are available on the Diocesan Convention webpage.

General Convention will meet from June 30-July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Arizona will be represented by me in the House of Bishops, and by four clergy and four lay deputies in the House of Deputies.

Our Standing Committee makes many crucial decisions for our diocese regarding finances, property, and ordination; and also provides me with a council of advice.

I particularly encourage those who have never served in these roles before–and those whose churches have never been represented in those bodies–to be open to the possibility. Our diocese is best served when we have a wide group of leaders who can bring their experiences back into their local church.

You’ll notice that there are equal numbers of clergy and lay leaders needed for these bodies–we need strong, faithful, passionate lay voices! Lay members are the majority of the church, and have a vital voice in leadership.

One of the roadblocks to some people considering putting their names in as candidates for bishop is that it is decided in a very public election. I know that as the day of Arizona’s electing convention approached, my mind flashed back to middle school student government elections, where I never won. An internal battle raged between my mature self, who was open to whatever outcome the Holy Spirit and the people of this diocese came to, and my 12-year-old self, who desperately feared feeling embarrassed by the outcome.

I suspect something similar happens in local, diocesan elections. But, this is also the work of the Holy Spirit. It is in that vulnerability that we can find Christ sometimes, and grow in our faith. So fear not. God will be with you.

Nominations can also be made from the floor of convention. However, if you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at your heartstrings now, I encourage you to submit an application soon (the deadline is September 3), so that your information can be shared with the diocese in the next AZ Episcopalian magazine.