The Diocese of East Carolina will receive applications until Sept. 27 in its search for the eighth bishop in its history. A 26-page profile offers a clear summary of the diocese’s current state and its hopes for the future:
Our survey respondents were predominantly 55 and older, which reflects a nationwide pattern in the Episcopal Church. Yet, our region includes many students, young professionals and young families who are not yet proportionately reflected in our diocesan demographics.
Few of our parish and diocesan gatherings reflect the diversity of our region. To address this concern, our Anti-Racism Commission holds annual one-day workshops in each deanery entitled “Seeing the Face of God in Each Other.” The workshops are designed to promote awareness of our diverse experiences and living into our Baptismal Covenant.
On social issues, our diocesan conventions have generally taken public positions that echo those of the Episcopal Church. However, people and congregations within the diocese range from very liberal to very conservative. This range of stances makes it a challenge to agree on action on social issues. With regard to the blessing of same sex unions, for example, very few congregations have begun the conversations, approved by our last bishop, regarding the new liturgies.
… We seek a bishop who will be our chief priest. Second only to a well-defined vision, this diocese hopes for a spiritual counselor — one who will nurture a deeper spiritual life centered on Christ. That nurturing should come in the form of teaching and program support from the diocesan level, active sacramental ministry throughout the region, and through the model set by the bishop’s life and habits. We want a bishop who will impart a disciplined understanding of biblical and historical revelation and connect our faith and Anglican traditions with our lives today.
The diocese expects to announce a slate in February and elect the new bishop May 17.