The following are the 3 questions each
of the candidates were asked in their initial Nomination/application
to enter the Search Process. Each
of the candidate's original answers have not been revised and are presented
here to assist in assessing the leadership strengths of each candidate
who will be on the Convention ballot October 12.
QUESTION #1 How will you provide
leadership in this diocese regarding the important issues facing
The Episcopal Church today? How will you engage those who disagree
As Robin Williams says, ”No matter what you believe, there’s
bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.” The
bottom line of our life in the Body of Christ is relationships.
Building relationships, maintaining relationships and the hard
work and shared joys of relationships are the heart of the matter.
Episcopal leadership has deacons’ work at its heart. That
is, the bishop brings the concerns of the wider Church and the
world to the diocese and carries the passion and the vision of
the diocese to the world and the wider Church. To engage in such
a role, listening would be the primary tool. Listening to those
who disagree is key, because in our tradition, everyone is entitled
to his or her opinion. Disagreements can sometimes bring our passion
and our vision into clearer focus with greater depth. My spiritual
director of 21 years says, “Feel what you feel... and be
kind.” I would encourage ideas and opinions to be are shared
in appropriate ways, communicated and catalogued in appropriate
places. With a deacon’s heart, I would expect to learn a
great deal from the deacons of Nevada.
Episcopal leadership has priests’ work at its heart. While
listening and interpreting between the wider Church and world and
the diocese, I would preach the Gospel and celebrate the rites
relegated to the Episcopate in partnership with each faith community
and congregation in the diocese, so that the teachings of Jesus
prevail. I would stay in close relations with our priests in Nevada.
The bishop is a pastor to the pastors, both deacons and priests, “a
servant of the servants of God”.
Episcopal leadership has the promises of Baptism at its heart.
So while we disagree, we gather, share, repent, witness, love and
respect, bless, care for those less fortunate, always with an eye
to gathering the diocese as a people of God in Nevada. I would
collaborate with the baptized in all the faith communities of Nevada.
I would build consensus where possible and encourage tolerance
when not. The bishop models the way of love, the path of the broken
who are loved by God, the journey toward peace.
In the Appreciative Inquiry model, we’re called to exercise
compassion that is tender in the face of suffering, fierce in the
face of injustice, and playful in the face of insurmountable odds. “...There’s
bound to be one other person who agrees.”
QUESTION #2 Our diocese is
highly diverse in multi-cultural expression and a combination of
urban and rural/frontier geography. How would you lead the education
and ministry development in such a large and sparsely populated
In the July issue of National Geographic an article entitled “Swarm
Theory” describes the collaborative intelligence observed
in the habits of insects and animals. There are three traits observed
in bee swarms, ant colonies and antelope herds that create amazing
intelligence: seek a diversity of options; encourage a free competition
among ideas; use an effective mechanism to narrow choices.
Education and ministry development happen in relationships. The
best education and ministry development tools don’t just
inform, they transform. Education and ministry development is meant
to be transformational, so that we become agents of change in order
to transform the world. Education for Ministry, Lifecycles, Rooted
in God, Godly Play, and Journey to Adulthood are examples of education
materials that are transformational. They encourage swarm intelligence.
The Episcopal Diocese of Nevada has never been, nor I suspect will
it ever become, The Church as Corporate America. We base everything
we do on relationships.
I would approach education and ministry development in our vast
multi-cultural and urban/frontier geography utilizing the elements
of swarm intelligence. Collaboration between Diocesan Council,
Standing Committee, and Commission on Ministry is essential. Ministry
Development and Support Teams could be created among the clergy
in each of the four mission districts, making sure that these efforts
are staffed and supported by the diocese. Congregational Development
Teams could be created to work within parishes in consort with
vestries and clergy to enhance and support the ministry of all
the baptized. We would continue to utilize the principles of Total
Ministry which have been effective in identifying and engaging
ministries, both lay and ordained. We would expect the best from
The elements of swarm intelligence, decentralized control, response
to local cues, and simple rules of thumb, add up to “a shrewd
strategy to cope with complexity” in Nevada. The key, according
to the article, is that groups of humans “tend to be wise
only if individual members act responsibly and make their own decisions
in consultation with each other. A group won’t be smart if
its members imitate one another, slavishly follow fads, or wait
for someone to tell them what to do.“
Education and ministry development designed to be transformational
for clergy and lay people alike would revolve around three main
strategies for the diocese, which can be seen in a different format
in the diocesan profile and are the emerging agenda of the diocese:
a. A leadership strategy, as outlined above, with a strong component
including youth and young adults;
b. A building and property strategy which focuses on our physical
assets and historical sites, including Galilee;
c. A Community Engagement strategy, focused on social justice
and outreach, designed to respond at the local level.
All three would address the question, “What in God’s
name is going on in here in Nevada?”
We’re a mining state, among other things. We know how to
dig deep and find the good stuff. We know how to tap our potential,
engage God’s vision for us, and celebrate the gifts we have
been given to do God’s work in Nevada.
How does your theology integrate the elements of scripture, reason
Are there differences in your focus and style when functioning in pastoral
or leadership roles?
The most potent teaching I have received is: in God’s world,
scripture, tradition and reason exist in tension as much as they
do in balance; in God’s world, we lead with whichever source
fits the setting, looking for the opportunity to teach, to learn,
to collaborate, to support one another in love and grace. In a
pastoral role, particularly in the face of some crisis or moment
of truth, the heartfelt language of the Psalms speaks powerfully
and passionately in many ways with many voices. To sit with people,
attend to their story, then read a Psalm or refer to the Psalms
is a potent way to re-connect with the wider faith community and
the ‘living word‘ of scripture. Since the Psalms are
embedded in the Prayer Book, both scripture and the tradition of
the Church through common prayer are brought to bear. In a leadership
role, remembering the stories of our forefathers and foremothers
through the history of the Church as well as the ancient tales
in scripture, enriches our sense of place in God’s economy.
In a leadership role involving the business of the Church, reason
leads and is informed by the deep structure of scripture and tradition,
always mindful of God‘s purpose. All of this would be surrounded
by prayer, which draws on each of the three sources.
The overriding trajectory is, ‘our own story’ connecting
to The Story through many stories in scripture and tradition. Jesus
was not a Westerner. He didn’t have to contend in the same
way with the tension between scripture, tradition and reason. He
contended with these tensions, seen in various conflicts with religious
leaders in the Gospels. He told stories in the face of conflicts
and questions. He connected their story to The Story through stories,
a particularly confounding approach. He offered his stories to
all comers, while devoting himself to those whom knew they were
broken, who came to him for healing. His touch healed them. His
power healed them. His stories healed them.
Story can carry us in ways that reason cannot. “And so it
came to pass...” holds out the possibility of redemption;
it carries so much weight, is so laden with promise, and conveys
the potential of a power greater than ourselves. “And so
it stands to reason...” may keep us in the room, but rarely
compels us to action. Stories compel us. Jesus knew that. Reason
connects us to the action which is required.
The Story through scripture and tradition is the key to our unique
place on the planet. It is what makes us followers and leaders,
healers and those who are healed. Scientists are utilizing the
language of mystery to describe barely observable phenomena in
our universe. Quantum physics meets the world of theology. The
Episcopal Church and its members are in a unique position to claim
both worlds, enjoy and enjoin the tension between them, and bear
the fruits of such theological reflection. It is an exciting prospect.
We are being healed of our enlightened separations and intellectual
compartments, invited back into a time of power through story.
True enlightenment is illumined by the Holy Spirit.
There is so much rich interchange, so much interpretation, so much
vision in the unfolding of God‘s work, when we remain mindful
of all three sources - scripture, tradition, reason - for theological
contemplation and action. To remember means to put back together.
When we remember, we put each other back together and we are put
back together, we are healed and made whole. What power this is!
It is the power that gives life, the power that makes love possible.
AL KEENEY's Essay Answers
CATHY DEATS' Essay Answers
DAN EDWARDS' Essay Answers
ERIC FUNSTON's Essay Answers
SUSAN BURNS' Essay Answers
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