With thanks to God, the Standing Committee is pleased to present to you the slate of nominees to be the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio: the Rev. Canon Whitney Rice, the Rev. Dr. José Rodríguez, the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, the Rev. Dr. Elaine Ellis Thomas, and the Rev. Canon Kristin Uffelman White.

The election for the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio will take place at a special in-person electing convention on September 30 at Christ Church Cathedral.

Download a printable booklet of information about the nominees.

The Rev. Canon Whitney Rice

“What I love most about the gospel accounts of call is that healing and evangelism are always intimately connected. Jesus heals someone and then immediately calls them to follow him on The Way so that they too may spread the Good News he has just awakened within them. This is a pattern I have experienced over and over in my own life, and I sense it is a journey the Diocese of Southern Ohio is walking as well.

“The aftermath of addiction, the struggle to articulate a unifying theology of money and power, the paradox of needing revitalization despite an abundance of ministry gifts and material resources, and the deep desire for ongoing growth as Beloved Community call for a partner in ministry who is wholeheartedly committed to the work of trust-building, truth telling, and the gentle yet fierce art of presence that points toward hope.”

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The Rev. Dr. José Rodríguez

“… I was contacted by a group of clergy in the Diocese of Southern Ohio to ask me into a conversation and mutual discernment to be your next bishop. As a Christian dedicated to inclusion and justice, I was moved by how broadly representative of your diocese this group is: from your urban area to Appalachia, men and women, straight and queer, of all ethnicities, and representing all ministers – laity, deacons, and priests. I have never experienced such a blessed community gathering of strangers who have become my friends. In a short time, we visioned and dreamed together, and I can see myself serving the people of Southern Ohio as your tenth bishop diocesan.

“Southern Ohio is a diocese with diverse persons that reflect God’s fullness in Jesus Christ. If this group is just a hint of the beautiful tapestry of your diocese, then I yearn to discern more fully with the wider Body of Christ, the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.”

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The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

“Throughout the antebellum South, my enslaved ancestors dreamt and sang of a place where they would at last know dignity and liberation. ‘Lord Jesus,’ they prayed, ‘deliver us across the river to Freedom Land.’ While they surely pictured the Israelites crossing the River Jordan to enter the Promised Land, their prayers were also deeply practical and earthy. Freedom was not an abstract; it was a destination. Racism didn’t magically evaporate as they crossed over the Ohio River, but they knew new life was possible on the other side. This was Freedom Land.

“When I consider the palpable call to enter into discernment with the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, this is what I see. You are more than your nearly 150-year history of service and witness. You are more than your abundant financial resources, and more than the deep wedges between haves and have nots. You are more than your experience as a dysfunctional system seeking recovery and restoration, though I know well how consuming that journey can be.”

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The Rev. Dr. Elaine Ellis Thomas

“The state of Ohio holds a special place in my heart: it is where my spouse, my partner in life, was born and grew up and went to college. We have made countless trips over the course of our relationship and marriage to visit family in northeast Ohio, to witness the pageantry that is a Buckeyes game at The Shoe, and to enjoy an afternoon of baseball at Great American Ballpark. Our deep roots in Ohio led me to participate in the bishop search in the Diocese of Ohio, an experience that continues to draw me into further exploration of where my gifts might best serve God and God’s people.

“What you seek in your next bishop resonates with me as one committed to building relationships, to strengthening communities, to truly know and love those with whom I serve so that we can carry out God’s mission in this world, sharing the healing love of Christ with all people. My experience and abilities as an enthusiastic teacher and preacher with pastoral sensitivity and boundless courage to go where God leads are all characteristic of the kind of bishop your profile imagines.”

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The Rev. Canon Kristin Uffelman White

“I give thanks for this opportunity to enter into discernment with you, as you search for the person who will serve as the Tenth Bishop of Southern Ohio.

“Your profile details a clear-eyed hope for your future as a diocese, as well as an honesty and a sense of longing that took my breath away. You recognize disparate accomplishments in the diocese, as well as the challenges you face, while seeking a coherent mission to frame who you are called to be as the Body of Christ throughout Southern Ohio. You name the desire for a bishop who will be present with you, particularly, in this time and place. These are the reasons – both in the work that you name and in the ways in which you articulate it – that I am compelled to explore this calling with you.

“I believe and trust that God is at work in our midst: right here, right now. That is the lens through which I view the ministry I am privileged to practice, together with the people of God.”

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