From the Standing Committee: Bishop Search Begins, Timeline Announced

Dear friends in Christ,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We greet you in love, and we are so grateful for your prayers and support as we move through the process of electing a new Bishop Diocesan. First, we join you in fervent prayers for the continued recovery of the President of the Standing Committee, the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn. The Standing Committee is continuing our work without interruption in Canon Gunn’s absence so that he can focus on returning to health.

We write today to tell you that we are prepared to begin the search for the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio, and to share with you our draft timeline for the work ahead. In particular, we want you to know that we are preparing to open the application for members of the Bishop Nominating Committee from August 11 to August 19. Because serving on the nominating committee will require a significant commitment of time and attention from mid-September through the end of June 2023, we want those of you who may be called to serve on the nominating committee to have time to discern your commitment before the online application form opens. The Nominating Committee will have the enormous job of writing the Diocesan Profile and ultimately presenting the slate of bishop candidates to the Standing Committee. This committee, which will include lay and clergy people from all parts of the diocese will have diversity that represents the population of our diocese.

You will see in the timeline chart at the end of this letter that we intend to elect our new bishop on September 30, 2023, and to hold the Ordination and Consecration of the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio in mid-February 2024 or shortly thereafter. We are working now with Presiding Bishop Curry’s office to secure a date. Please know that these dates, as well as all the dates in the timeline, are probable, but are not set in stone. The Standing Committee will continue issuing regular updates to keep you informed of our progress.

The process for electing and ordaining a bishop typically takes between one and two years, which is longer than most people imagine. Here in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, we spent some time before officially beginning our search addressing essential issues of institutional culture and clarity. We believe that this preparatory period was necessary to create an environment that will foster the ministries of the diocese and our next bishop. Based on the feedback that we received at listening sessions we held in May and June, we now have made sufficient progress on these key issues and are ready to begin the search. Dr. James Allsop, the Vice President of the Standing Committee, has assumed leadership as Canon Gunn recovers, and we have confidence that with the support of the Holy Spirit, we will continue our work without interruption.

One of the foundations from which our committee works was summarized beautifully in a recent publication from The Center for Action and Contemplation about the future of Christianity:

This work invites each of us to play a part — a whole body, a whole community, a whole movement grounded in shared vision, values, and experiential knowing of God’s presence. We are called to show up in the world together.

As we begin the search for the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio, we ask you to pray for us, for those who will discern a call to serve on the nominating committee, and for all the people of the diocese.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. James Allsop, vice-president
Dr. Elizabeth Barker
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Cook
Mr. Barry Feist
The Rev. David Kendall-Sperry, secretary
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio

Prospective Timeline for the Bishop Search

This projected timeline is but a tip of the iceberg of the complex process for the election of a bishop in the Episcopal Church. We are blessed to have an excellent and experienced consultant to guide us. We are including a projected timeline that can be modified according to circumstances. If you have questions, please email us at

August 11Bishop Nominating Committee Application Open
August 19Deadline for Bishop Nominating Committee Applications
September 15Bishop Nominating Committee Members Announced
October 7-8Bishop Nominating Committee Retreat
November 19Diocesan Convention
January 15Diocesan Profile Published
January 31Transition Committee Application Published
February 28Deadline for Bishop Candidate Applications
February 28Transition Committee Members Announced
March 18Transition Committee Zoom Kickoff
June 15-17Bishop Nominating Discernment Retreat
June 24Slate of Bishop Nominees presented to Standing Committee
June 29Slate of Bishop Nominees Announced
July 13Petition Nominee Applications Due
August 10Final Slate Announced
September 11-15Meet and Greet Sessions with Bishop Nominees
September 30Special Electing Convention
February 10 (or later)Ordination of the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio

Read a companion letter from Bishop Provisional Smith.