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.