F EBRUARY 2014
T HE D IOCESE OF THE C ENTRAL G ULF C OAST C ALLING OUR F OURTH B ISHOP A B RIEF H ISTORY OF THE E PISCOPACY
As the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast begins the process of calling our fourth bishop, we are first called to the work of reflection, prayer, and preparation. This leaflet is intended to provide a starting point for this work. Our nature as Episcopalians dictates that we turn first to The Book of Common Prayer, where we find in the Examination from “The Ordination of a Bishop” and in the Catechism an outline of our understanding of the role of bishops in our identity and life. In our canons we find the ordering of our work, the procedure for electing a bishop. These documents are both expressions of our theological understanding of episcopacy and of our practice in discerning those who may be called to episcopal ministry and then allowing the Spirit to work in electing a bishop. What follows here is a very brief suggestive overview of episcopacy in the Anglican tradition, both its historical development and its contemporary context. Our hope is that this will be a helpful aid to prayerful thought.
The Rt. Rev. Francis Huger Rutledge First Bishop of the Diocese of Florida
In our name we find our roots. Episcopal (and the word bishop itself) comes from the Greek word episkopos, meaning “over-seer” (epi, meaning “over,” and skopos, meaning “seer.”) Throughout ancient Greek texts the word episkopos is used to refer to oversight and as a generic name for both civil and religious officials. In the New Testament we find the term appropriated within the life of the young church. Key references in Scripture, dating generally from the turn of the first century may be found in: I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1: 7-9; 1 Peter 2:25; Philippians 1:1; Acts 20:28; Acts 1:20; and 1 Peter 5: 2-4. The responsibility established in Scripture for “oversight” in faithful transmission of the apostolic faith and in “tending the flock of God” is further developed in the witness of the early church fathers. The understanding of episcopal ministry in the early Christian church may be found in the writings of Sts. Ignatius of Antioch and Hippolytus of Rome, St. Irenaeus of Lyon, and St. Cyprian of Carthage. These writers emphasize the bishop as presider at the Eucharist, chief teacher, and administrative leader; as such, the bishop is the focal point for unity— eucharistic, doctrinal, and administrative—in the church. The primary ministry of the bishop is pictured as linking each local church with all others, across space and time.1
The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Hamner Cobbs First Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama
The role of bishops in the church—and the distinction between the office of bishop and that of presbyters (or priests)—became so deeply ingrained that by the time of the 16th-century English reform, bishops were a given. The English Reformers saw no opposition between episcopacy and the cause of reform that produced other types of church order throughout Europe. Here begins the habitual Anglican appeal to tradition and continuity. In the office of bishop the apostolic function of oversight continues, the power of ordination is carried forward, and a normative mode of government for the church is established. Episcopacy now becomes an institution that, in part, defines the Anglican understanding of “Church.” This understanding was translated into the Episcopal Church founded early in the life of the United States of America. It may be seen clearly in “Chicago-Lambeth (continued on back page)
T he O r d i n at i o n o f a B i s h o p
f r o m t h e Bo ok o f Common Praye r
TH E EXAMIN ATION My brother, the people have chosen you and have affirmed their trust in you by acclaiming your election. A bishop in God’s holy Church is called to be one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel, and to testify to Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and King of kings. You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ. With your fellow bishops you will share in the leadership of the Church throughout the world. Your heritage is the faith of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and those of every generation who have looked to God in hope. Your joy will be to follow him who came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of bishop? Answer: I am so persuaded.
Will you accept this call and fulfill this trust in obedience to Christ? Answer I will obey Christ, and will serve in his name. Bishop
Will you be faithful in prayer, and in the study of Holy Scripture, that you may have the mind of Christ? Answer I will, for he is my help. Bishop
The Rt. Rev. William George McDowell
Will you boldly proclaim Fifth Bishop of the and interpret the Gospel Diocese of Alabama of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience of your people? Answer I will, in the power of the Spirit. Bishop
As a chief priest and pastor, will you encourage and support all baptized people in their gifts and ministries, nourish them from the riches of God’s grace, pray for them without ceasing, and celebrate with them the sacraments of our redemption? Answer I will, in the name of Christ, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Bishop
Will you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church? Answer I will, for the love of God. Bishop
Will you share with your fellow bishops in the government of the whole Church; will you sustain your fellow presbyters and take counsel with them; will you guide and strengthen the deacons and all others who minister in the Church? Answer I will, by the grace given me. Bishop
Will you be merciful to all, show compassion to the poor and strangers, and defend those who have no helper? Answer I will, for the sake of Christ Jesus. N., through these promises you have committed yourself to God, to serve his Church in the office of bishop. We therefore call upon you, chosen to be a guardian of the Church’s faith, to lead us in confessing that faith. Bishop
The Rt. Rev. Charles Colcock Jones Carpenter Sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama
T he C a n o n s
T H E C AN ONS OF THE P R OTE STAN T E PISCOPAL
The Rt. Rev. John Freeman Young Second Bishop of the Diocese of Florida
C H UR CH IN TH E D IOCE SE OF TH E C E N TR AL G ULF C OAST , I NC . CANON 26: ELECTION OF A BISHOP
The Rt. Rev. Edwin Gardner Weed Third Bishop of the Diocese of Florida
Section 1. Pursuant to the provisions of Article VII, Section 4, of the Articles of Incorporation of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, Inc., the procedure for the election of a bishop shall be stated below. Section 2. Nominees for the election of a bishop shall be chosen either by the Search Committee or by nominating petitions. The Search Committee will nominate from four to seven candidates. A nominating petition must be signed by four clergy who are eligible to vote in a diocesan convention and four lay persons eligible to serve as delegates to a diocesan convention. Nominating petitions must be submitted to the Search Committee by a deadline set by it in order for background checks on such nominees to be conducted. No nominations from the floor will be order. Section 3. A Search Committee appointed by the Standing Committee will be charged with the responsibility of preparing and publicizing educational material on the historic episcopate; preparing a profile of the Diocese; interviewing potential nominees; choosing from four to seven nominees to be presented at the Convention at which the election will be held; verifying the validity of nominating petitions and carrying out any additional duties that may be assigned to it by the Standing Committee. Section 4. The Standing Committee shall choose the date for the Convention at which the election will be conducted. The Standing Committee shall choose such additional committees as may be needed for securing a site for the electing convention and making all necessary arrangements for it; securing a site and making all necessary arrangements for the ordination of the new bishop; providing support to a retiring bishop and that bishop’s staff and family and to the bishop elect and the family of the bishop elect and any such additional matters as the Standing Committee may deem appropriate.
From An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism
The Rt. Rev. Frank Alexander Juhan Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Florida
Q. What is the ministry of a bishop? A. The ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest, and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry.
The Rt. Rev. Edward Hamilton West Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Florida
Quadrilateral,” where the “Historic Episcopate” takes its place with the Holy Scriptures, the Nicene Creed, and the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, as essential to the unity of the Christian Church (BCP 877).2 The description of episcopacy in the “Quadrilateral” points toward a crucial point in our understanding of the role of bishop—its susceptibility to variation: the historic episcopate is “locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.” This adaptability, while serving the needs of the local church and at the same time maintaining unity, requires periodic reassessments of the role of the episcopate in the life of the church. We must ask ourselves who a bishop is and what a bishop does in our present reality. Most recently, this has been undertaken in a study document authorized by the House of Bishops at General Convention in 1991. The Ministry of Bishops focuses on the ordinal for a bishop in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and its authors find there three central activities contained in the promises bishops make, activities they believe are sometimes misunderstood or neglected today: 1.) The bishop as proclaimer of the gospel and teacher of the Christian faith; 2.) The bishop as provider of and presider over sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Baptism; and 3.) The Bishop as leader in the councils of the church, local, national, and “supra-national.” They emphasize that the church is a community and not a corporation, with the bishop being a member of
that community. The bishop’s role grows out of that community, and the bishop serves as the “anchor person” for all the ministry of the community as they strive to live more fully in the Christian way.3 Our context today in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast emerges from a rich history in our two dioceses of origin, the Diocese of Alabama and the Diocese of Florida. The bishops who have led the church since the nineteenth century in both dioceses have helped shape us into the people we have become. To this we add our own more recent history as a diocese since 1970, under the authority of our three bishops. As we look forward to the election of our fourth bishop, we must ask ourselves who we are at this time and place in our shared life, and then we must ask what the role and function of a bishop needs to be for us, to enable us to grow as the people God calls us to be. Above all, we must do this work in the context of prayer and community. We hope that this leaflet is a helpful beginning to that process.
Bishops of the Diocese of Alabama The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Hamner Cobbs 1844-1861 The Rt. Rev. Richard Hooker Wilmer 1861-1900 The Rt. Rev. Robert Woodward Barnwell 1900-1902 The Rt. Rev. Charles Minnigerode Beckwith 1902-1928 The Rt. Rev. William George McDowell 1928-1938 The Rt. Rev. Charles Colcock Jones Carpenter 1938-1968 The Rt. Rev. George Mosley Murray 1969-1970
Bishops of the Diocese of Florida The Rt. Rev. Francis Huger Rutledge 1851-1866 The Rt. Rev. John Freeman Young 1867-1885 The Rt. Rev. Edwin Gardner Weed 1886-1924 The Rt. Rev. Frank Alexander Juhan 1924-1956 The Rt. Rev. Edward Hamilton West 1956-1974
Bishops of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast The Rt. Rev. George Mosley Murray 1971-1981 The Rt. Rev. Charles Farmer Duvall 1981-2001 The Rt. Rev. Phillip Menzie Duncan II 2001-
Wright, J. Robert. “The Origins of the Episcopate and Episcopal Ministry in the Early Church.” In On Being a Bishop: Papers from the Moscow Consultation 1992. 10-32. 2
Norris, Richard A., Jr. “Episcopacy.” In The Study of Anglicanism. Fortress, 1998. 333-347. 3
The Ministry of Bishops: A Study Document. Trinity Institute, 1991. (Standing left to right) The
Rt. Rev. George Mosley Murray, The Rt. Rev. Charles Farmer Duvall (seated) The Rt. Rev. Phillip Menzie Duncan II