An invitation for episcopal candidates from the Rev. Ianther Mills and Cynthia Taylor, leaders of the BWC delegation
As the 2024 Jurisdictional Conference delegation of the Baltimore-Washington Conference begins its work, one of the great responsibilities of the delegation is to identify possible episcopal candidates to be considered for service as bishops in The United Methodist Church. Through a process of discernment and prayer, the delegation has determined to extend an invitation to clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference to submit the name of any person you feel led to nominate as a candidate for the episcopacy.
Individuals nominated will receive a letter indicating they have been nominated as a potential episcopal candidate from the Baltimore-Washington Conference. If the nominated individuals desire to pursue episcopal candidacy, they will be asked to submit a written statement of call and other information requested on a standardized form. All submittals will be reviewed and prayerfully considered by the delegation. Selected individuals will be asked to meet with the delegation for a time of conversation and further discernment.
We also invite individuals who may be sensing a call to the episcopacy in their own life to submit their names following this same process.
All Elders in full connection who have not reached the age of 68 on or before July 1, 2024, are eligible to be nominated.
In considering the qualities that we might be looking for in a strong episcopal candidate, in addition to the specific role and responsibilities of bishops listed in Paragraphs 403, 414-416 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, the delegation offers the following:
- We are in the season of discernment. Both episcopal candidates and voting laity and clergy are in a new season of discerning who shall lead the church. A strong and solid foundation of faith is paramount. A biblical, theological, and spiritual authenticity and an ethical character that is evident and modeled for all the world to see, is essential.
- We are in a season of uncertainty. In the midst of the disaffiliation of congregations, there is uncertainty about the direction and future of the church. Executive level leadership with managerial skill, tempered by compassion, reinforced by cultural awareness, is vital for the church to move forward. Persons with knowledge and experience of organizational systems would be a benefit to the mission and ministry of the new United Methodist Church. Evidence of this practical skill set, in a new servant-leader, is critical.
- We are in a season of individual identity and corporate identity. It is a season of both/and…not either/or. Servant leadership is needed that recognizes and supports the multi-layers of human expression noting that all are created in the Image of God. Likewise, servant leadership is needed that can unite all into a beloved community, free from systemic issues of oppression and discrimination, so that the rich tapestry of faith and culture will flourish.
- We are in a season of pruning for growth (John 15). An episcopal candidate should demonstrate the ability to listen to others with a non-judgmental, non-anxious presence. A candidate should illustrate the ability to empower others, even those with whom they disagree. A candidate must be capable of developing trust, understanding and respect for others, so that the Gospel can be effectively expressed throughout the world.
All the nomination information should be sent to the Rev. Ianther Mills, the clergy head of the delegation, at . The deadline for submission of nominations, statement of call, biographical information, and responses to essential qualities is Nov. 30, 2023.
The delegation appreciates your participation in this vital process and covets your prayers as we move forward in this important task of identifying possible episcopal candidate(s). If you have any questions concerning this process, please feel free to contact either of us.
Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills,
Heads of the BWC Delegation