Search Process Continues

The application period for candidates for Bishop of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania has closed.

The Search Committee is reviewing candidates’ submitted materials.

We will keep you posted, and ask that you continue to keep the Search Committee and Applicants in your prayers.


Gracious God, Great Shepherd of your people, we seek your wisdom as we listen for your voice among many voices. We ask grace to imagine boldly, to pray unceasingly and to act being the community you would have us be. We ask grace to be strengthened by our companionship with each other and by your presence in our deliberations and decision making. We ask your blessing on the labors of those who seek our next bishop, searching for the one who will lead us with vigor and vision, and we pray your grace on those who have entered the application process. In this discernment may we all be encouraged in discipleship in Christ for the good of your people throughout the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Amen.


Who’s the Bishop Now?

On May 31, The Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter retired as our Diocesan Bishop. From June 1 until our Diocesan election of our Provisional Bishop on Saturday, June 14, the Standing Committee of the Diocese is our ecclesiastical  authority. In that two week period, The Rt. Rev. Robert Gepert remains our Assisting Bishop.

Once elected as our Provisional Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Robert Gepert holds authority as our Diocesan Bishop.

The election of our new bishop is scheduled for a special diocesan convention, March 21, 2015.  After election, the Rt. Rev. Robert Gepert will remain available as Assisting Bishop until the Consecration, scheduled for September 12, 2015.

Article II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church requires “the consent of a majority of the Standing Committees of all the Dioceses, and the consent of a majority of the Bishops of this Church exercising jurisdiction” to the election of a bishop.”

Two scenarios are possible:

  1. If we elect a candidate who is already a bishop, there is no need to hold a consecration. The newly elected bishop assumes jurisdiction as soon as the consents have been received from both orders, the House of Bishops and the Standing Committees.
  2.  If we elect a priest to be our 11th  bishop, then that person becomes bishop-elect.  The newly elected does not take jurisdiction until consecration.  One cannot have jurisdiction without ordination.

Our Standing Committee’s agreement with the provisional bishop can be ended at any time after the special election.  Certainly, the provisional bishop has no jurisdiction past the consecration.  Since 2015 is a General Convention year and the election will have taken place before General Convention, the bishop-elect is expected to attend.  The bishop elect will be seated in the House of Bishops, with voice, but without vote.

June 6: Applications Will Open

Applications will be accepted for the position of the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, starting on June 6.

The profile is available only from the website, here:

Paper copies can be downloaded from the pdf file link that is available.

All applications are to be submitted electronically as per the profile directions.

Please prayerfully recommend the website to those whom you feel

might like to explore a call to this important ministry among us.

The deadline for applications is midnight, PTZ, June 20, 2014.

What does a Bishop do? PART 2

The primary task of a bishop is the primary task of a diocese.  Our 2014  Bishop Search Profile has a lengthy section on the primary task of our diocese (see pages 20-25), interpreting and drawing on the data the Search Committee gathered across the diocese during the 20 listening events held from January through March of this year.  The data reveals a strong desire in all parts of the diocese for a primary leadership focus on the development of healthy and faithful parishes.

What a bishop does, part 2, interprets the ‘job list’ you’ll find in the previous blog below, What Does a Bishop Do?

What a bishop does, interpreting the vows of consecration, is to help focus all members in the diocese on a vision for, and accomplishment of the primary task–the development of healthy and faithful parishes.  There are two accompanying major emphases of any episcopacy, also primary to a bishop’s work.  We can prepare ourselves for such a primary task and for our new bishop, by paying attention to new language creating new possibilities in the way we change and grow in leadership and in parish life.

Here is what Bob Gallagher, OA, Congregational and Parish Development consultant, has to say on The Three Primary Tasks of a Diocese:

 There are three areas that constitute the essential work of a bishop and a diocese.

1. The renewal and revitalization of parish churches.

The bishop needs to help all the parishes be communities that live and worship to the glory of God and in which the baptized are formed as instruments of God’s love in their lives in families, the workplace, with friends and in civic life. This includes seeing that all parishes have worship that sweeps people off their feet.

2. Engaging the region of the diocese

The diocese is called to work for justice and compassion in its state or city, on its own, as well as in cooperation with parishes and in collaboration with other denominations, organizations and institutions.

3. Connecting the diocese with the larger church

The bishop is an essential connection with the national and international life of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The bishop also has a responsibility to help parishes be grounded in the Anglican ethos.

“There are also all sorts of odds and ends a bishop may need to deal with but these three things are the core,” Bob Gallagher said to the group of Diocesan leaders gathered on April 27 this year, in considering our Listening Event data.   ” And the renewal and revitalization of parish churches is the primary task.”

To read more about Bob Gallagher’s work and understanding of diocesan, congregational and parish health, click here:




All bishops are asked to affirm the “job description” statement from the Book of Common Prayer:


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.” (p. 517)



What will our next bishop do with his or her time? As our chief diocesan shepherd, he or she will spend time:

  • Visiting parishes
  • Administering Sacraments (Baptisms, Holy Communion, Confirmations, Ordinations of priests, deacons, and other bishops, even Marriages and Funeral Rites)
  • Providing pastoral care, especially of clergy
  • Teaching
  • Providing Church leadership—unity, faith, discipline—both locally and worldwide
  • Participating in the House of Bishops
  • Receiving “Baby Bishop” training through the House of Bishops
  • Offering administrative oversight of Diocesan staff
  • Delivering deployment and spiritual guidance of deacons & seminarians
  • Following Christ, who also came “not to be served, but to serve”

This list captures many, but surely not all, of the responsibilities and privileges of being a bishop.

As you can see, bishops work very hard for their dioceses, their people, and, of course, for and with our ultimate Great Shepherd. We must remember that a bishop needs to have personal time as well!


Please pray for our next bishop and all for bishops everywhere.

Data Gathering Complete!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the Search Committee’s recent data gathering events.

63 clergy and ­­­249 lay people were heard at 13 regional listening events. ­­­10 parish leaders from 3 large churches and 1 small church attended the large church/small church event. 28 young people participated at their own event. In addition, we received 8 surveys through submission by those who could not attend any of the meetings. We believe this participation gives us representative information that will provide a basis for discerning our next Bishop.

The entirety of all that input is being assimilated by an outside agency, and the Search Committee will soon be examining their report.  The first analysis of the narrative data, covering all the questions with weighted responses, will be available early in May. Additional reports will be put up on the website as they are available.

We will keep you posted!


The Communication Subcommittee of the Bishop’s Search Committee