Sunday, November 22, 2009

Walkabout Rough Notes

Walkabouts for the nominees for the next bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina are being held this weekend. I attended the Saturday session and will present my personal notes. Enclosed in quotation marks are some quotes, but many of the terms used such as unity, vision etc are not marked with quotation marks but should be so marked. I thought of titling this post "The Walkabout Hokey Pokey," but maybe I will save such comments for Wednesday's post.

At registration everyone was given an envelope with one of 6 colored dots on the outside. This dot was to indicate which room to attend. This was a random process and not assigned by attendees name. This was to ensure no overcrowding in the 6 rooms. After a service of Morning Prayer in St. John's Episcopal church in Columbia, the nominees were given a few minutes to introduce themselves. Next, we went to the breakouts. The nominees were shuttled between the indicated rooms and given a carefully limited amount of time to respond to questions. A timer was present to signal 30 seconds remaining and 15 seconds remaining for each response. An initial common question which was known ahead of time was given every nominee. Then, questions which had to be hand written on 3 x 5 index cards placed and in a basket were randomly pulled by a moderator. My notes do note give any real sense of body language, physical bearing or speech patterns.

Shorthand notes from 11/21/2009

Stockton Williams Columbia Walkabout

Intro to entire group:

Great sense of humor broke the ice well had everyone laughing. Was the first to introduce his wife. Talked about his sense of call, his sense that he fit the profile, his desire to unify, be a bridger, a vision caster, importance of staying in the Anglican Communion.


Core belief- God is at the center, loves us, came to Earth to be born and to die, He is here constantly working in your life, make it known, His name is Jesus.

Common Q1 What have you done to develop leadership esp youth.

Ans: Look to past performance, identify the quiet types , talked about his love of youth, his all time favorite job is working with “Happening.” He believes that Bible study and discerning peoples gifts are both needed to develop leaders.

Q2 What would he do about the Church in Uganda's stance on homosexuals.

Ans: This required some explanation from the person who wrote the question as Stockton was not sure what the issue was or what the question meant. After some explaining he said that he was not in favor of the church putting homosexuals in jail if that is what the questioner meant.

Q3 How would you go about church planting.

Ans: Related story of earlier experiences with this and concluded that it is best to start with a house church built around the unchurched and grow ASA before investing in property. An example from his area grew to an ASA of 100 before building a facility.

Q4 Describe worship schedule at St. Peter's.

Ans 3 Sunday services, MP daily M-F, Wed 5:15 pm short Eucharist then classes, Bible study, Thursday healing service at 10

Q5 As Bishop what would you do for gay people who are impatient at the lack of progress in their 40 year struggle to full inclusion? (my paraphrase of a long question).

Ans: He started a group “All Gods Children” of gays which was contrary to his conservative parish. They used a method “Circle of Peace” where people could speak without interruption which proved helpful. He is open to discussion and puts an emphasis on parish led discussions.

Closing: Emphasized he is a “stayer” in TEC despite being opposed to the controversial resolutions. Invites us to join him on Facebook.

John Burwell Columbia Walkabout

Intro to entire group: Describes desire to build churches, a uniter, loves our profile.
“I love the Episcopal Church.” Talks about DSC, “Can anything good come out of South Carolina? Come and see!”
Breakout Intro: Discusses differences from stereotype of DSC.
“I am a uniter not a divider.”

Q1 Common question on building leadership.

Ans: “Bottom up Principle” empower people to know the Bible, the BCP, the Lord. Describes typical staff meetings and use of Bible study in staff meetings as well as 30 min of prayer

Q2 How available would you be to the clergy?

Ans: Currently works with a large staff (experienced) and want sot be on the road to the churches and to build the clergy up.

Q3 What about small mission churches?

Ans: They all can grow. First remember what our purpose is. The church exists for those who are not yet members. Accept people where they are. It is about relationships not religion.

Q4: In the Prayers of the People do you or do you not pray for the PB by name?

Ans: They use form 3 which does not use personal names for church leaders. Adds that he disagrees with the PB but would be loyal. He recognizes unspoken stereotype of DSC in the question.

Q5 Would you have clergy vote your way or their own conscience?

Ans: Conscience, of course they would take in counsel, team would be built.

Q6: Relationship between Diocese and Camp/Conference Center.

Ans. Build them up, “I know how to raise money.” Camp vision=church vision

Q7 How to develop ministry of Deacons

Ans: Refers to Acts, Deacons came first, 3 fold ministry, he teaches homiletics in diaconate program, every church needs a deacon

Q8 You voted with DSC to withdraw from participation in parts of TEC.

Ans: Says if he were bishop he would not have wanted that resolution to move forward.

Closing: He debunked rumors about him and W.O.., about DSC hating TEC, misinformation about DSC, etc.

Phil Linder Columbia Walkabout

Intro to entire group: He led off, did not mention his wife. (Made up for it in Breakout) Described himself “I am a passionate moderate” and a believer in the "Via Media.” Explained his call and recall, I was not called but was persuaded.”

Intro to breakout: Related his “deep sense of call” and his “strong knowledge of our diocese.”

Q1 Common question

Ans: Bishop should be visionary and a leader. Talks about having a clear goal. He asks “How may I serve?” “How are we going to change lives?” Says we need strategies just like Trinity Cathedral has developed. Need to look at “mutual ministry.”

Q2 How to reach the unchurched was in this Q but not really addressed.

Ans. “I have not been a micromanager” at “Trinity I surrounded myself with stars.” “The diocese needs me.” Again mentions strategic plan that has worked at Trinity, says need to reach out to those with a sense of ordained ministry.

Q3 What about those small mission churches?

Ans: They “need me most,” will “translate what he has done at Trinity and serve as a pastor” to those clergy, and get to “know the lay people.” Send them the money they need for resources.

Q4 About his withdrawal from the nominating process

Ans: “I do not want to be a bishop, I feel persuaded to be your bishop.” (meaning the people and clergy want him) “We withdrew” meaning Ellen and he. He spoke of this being a critical time for our diocese. Then he said, “I am ready, we do not have time to wait for someone to get to know us.”
Q5 Do you prefer a progressive or an Orthodox diocese?

Ans: “I am Anglican Orthodox in the truest sense.” Says he is a “centrist” a “passionate moderate” a progressive on “social justice” is “embracing.”

Q6 Describe your USMC training.

Ans: He had a USMC scholarship to Nova, and loved it but fell in love with Ellen, God called and he couldn't be a Catholic Priest because of his love for Ellen, so gave up the scholarship. But still loves his “military” background.
Q7 Why does it look like you side stepped the tough part of the search process

Ans: “Ellen said we should withdraw when we did.” He says he “never dreamed he would be back in” and says it “was not a sidestep.”

Closing: “I very much want to serve.”

Waldo Columbia Walkabout

Group Intro: Stressed Alabama roots, what he as learned about EDUSC, says we have a “shared vision” of keeping people together. States he is committed to the Anglican communion and the doctrine discipline and worship of TEC.

Q1 Common Q

Says leadership grounded in Bible study, uses inventories in discerning lay leaders gave an uninspiring nod to youth says the use of chanted psalms helps leaders work together. (music nod)

Q2 What about Cursillo?

Ans: “I have never done it.” Heard it was “divisive” and it is non-existent in Dio of Minn, but he is “open to it” because relatives have reported good things about it. He says in Minn they have a “Teens Encounter Christ” program that he supports.

Q3 x 2 Asked about open communion.

Ans: Says he was “a vocal critic for 10 yrs in his diocese” but the movement came to Minn and it was a great wave. He says they decided to “call all seekers” to the table as a compromise and he sees an analogy to the 1928 prayer book (which he admits assumes only the baptised would go to the rail) Says he would not “foist it” on us.

Q4 Deacons

Ans: Supports them, but does not know much about our #s or program.

Q5 Relations between camp/conference center and diocese.

Ans: Minn. Let it die. He grew up in Alabama and camp was the place that unified, he thinks it is a very important part of a diocese.

Q6 Leaving TEC

Ans: Not an option. States “GC is the governing body of TEC.”

Q7 How would you support EDUSC School for Ministry?

Ans: “It is a great resource.”

Q8 What about small “broke” ($) congregations?

Ans: First get to know them, consider “Total Ministry like they have in Minn, non seminary trained priests, sacramentalists, etc. They have 38 such churches in Minn, this “enables them to survive” but adds “occasionally you have to close one.”

Closing, he says he can hold left and right together.

Neal Michell Columbia Walkabout

Intro to group: “I do not bring a vision to you.” He has one, we have one and do they match? He has a passion for the Gospel, a focus on mission, wants to reduce diocesan assessments, work on congregational development and church planting, relates experience.

Q1 Common question how to educate and empower others to be leaders esp youth.

Ans: 2 parts Leadership vs growth in faith. “Leadership is influence” to “move people in ways they may not have moved on their own.” Prayer with leadership and for them, would like to have more workshops even in convocations.

Q2 Does your diocese have minorities in leadership specifically, race, gender, sexual orientation?

Ans: Cannot give precise #s, but he accepts W.O. And related all the new minorities and start ups in the Diocese.

Q3. The Dio of Dallas is minimizing its relationship with TEC as evidenced in removing the word Episcopal from churches.

Ans: Not true, we are not separating, “leaving is not an option,” and “we function fully in TEC.
Some churches have the Anglican name on sign as newcomers from other parts of the world are “more familiar with the term.”

Q4 Where will you cut the budget?

Ans: First need to prioritize based on strategic paln. Dio of Dallas 20% goes to planting.

Q5: Age of Confirmands should it be mandated?

Ans: He would not mandate. Canons state age for membership is 16.

Q6: This Q was confusing but the answer was as follows:

Ans: He fasts, prays, believes in spiritual disciplines, prayer groups, leads to personal peace.

Q7: Relationship of Dio to camp/conf ctr

Ans: “Let's figure out how to do this best” it “Can't be done piecemeal”

Q8: Would you consent to the election of another partnered gay bishop?

Ans: “No.” Explains we have been asked not to by the larger church; explains Anglican Communion, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox all opposed.

Q9: Are You high church , low church, Anglo Catholic?

Ans: “I am Catholic Evangelical” (Cues the pewster in on the fact that “liturgical dance” is being tried in Upper SC)
Closing: “I don't want to be bishop, I want to do bishop” Talks about the decline of TEC and that we have to “reverse the flow.”

Thompson Columbia Walkabout

Group intro: Talks of challenges, of ministry to small congregations, we have lost our missional emphasis, against congregational isolationism (stammers on the word) Read his speech, voice weak, high pitched)

Intro to breakout: Need creativity in planting, need to try different ministerial models, would use input from others and not dictate as bishop.

Q1 Common question

Ans: Talked about how his congregation came up with ideas for ministries, he does not make decisions in isolation. They have MP M-Th.

Q2 Give examples of planting..

Ans: Has not planted one, talks about others input on ideas for planting.

Q3 What about youth/college students?

Ans: Raise money for endowments. Have college chaplains a minimum of one per convocation.

Q4 Of 2 models for bishop Roman or Celtic, which do you embody.

Ans: Celtic although he would love to be carried in a chair. Celtic is more about relationships and support of congregations and ministries.

Q5 Would you call partnered gays or consent to another gay bishop

Ans: “Yes Maybe”
No authorized SSBs so he would toe the line, but if and when they are authorized, he would bring it back to the diocese and see how it would be implemented. He “sees sexual orientation as a gift from God.” and he would have conferences so we “could understand one another.”

Q6 Will the PB be invited and welcome to EDUSC?

Ans: Yes

Q7: How would you work with retired priests and spouses?

Ans: Yes

Q8 What about small congregations?

Ans: need to be creative

Closing: Never expected to get this far, will need to work together despite our differences.


  1. Thanks for this update! Jz

  2. Related to Paul?

  3. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Having attended both walk abouts - the Columbia group was more open and welcoming than the Greenville group. The sence this writer got was that the Greenville crowd was expecting to be insulted by each candidate.

    Most noticable candidate difference between the two sessions was exhaustion!

    In general this writer was very pleased with the beliefs and the presentations of all the candidates. Each has a strong foundational belief and love for God and the church. There was no obvious contradictions in their comments.

    My predisposition towards and against various candidates increased and decreased with each day. I have my favorite and my least favorite. The four in the middle would be ok! However, they are all good men!