By Martin Loring, Search Committee Chair
On Saturday, June 29, your 11th Bishop of Oregon Search Committee was commissioned in a lovely and solemn ceremony during a Eucharist celebrated at St. Thomas, Eugene. Members of St. Thomas were great hosts who fed us well, and we are very thankful for their hospitality.
Standing Committee President Sharon Rodgers and Standing Committee Secretary the Rev. David Sweeney led the commissioning, which culminated in each member of the Search and Standing Committees signing a confidentiality agreement that was laid upon the altar.
Please know that the Search Committee wants to be as transparent as possible about what is happening, when, and why; however, apart from the final slate of nominees, the names of candidates must be kept confidential. We must also keep confidential our deliberations. The reason for this confidentiality is that people who apply, or are nominated, to be bishop make themselves and their families vulnerable. We are honor bound to protect their privacy.
We want every member of each congregation in the diocese to have an opportunity to be heard about what sort of bishop we need and how we are going about calling this person. Plans are in the works for how the listening process will happen.
At our first meeting, we discussed how we are going to make decisions (essentially by consensus), as well as what subcommittees we will need. A Profile subcommittee was created with the Rev. Tim Hannon, Mary Adams, Cindy Russell, and Marie Bagwell as members. Other subcommittees identified as needed include: Discernment, Listening, Discernment Retreat, and one on Communications and Education.
Cindy Russell pointed out the need to establish Committee norms, and the Rev. Maria McDowell will lead discussion in creating them at our next meeting, July 13 in Eugene.