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The Process for Selecting a New Executive Bishop

From Rev. Eric Carswell, Head Pastor
October 16, 2017

Bishop Brian Keith announced earlier this year that he will retire from his role as Executive Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem (GCNJ) in June 2019. As part of this process I would welcome your thoughts about this role and the future of the GCNJ.

The Episcopal office provides oversight for the General Church and the Academy of the New Church. He serves as a priest–teaching and leading from the three-fold Word. He works with priests and lay people to support and maintain order for the development of the uses of the church and the Academy. There are four general areas where this leadership is exercised:

  1. Clergy/congregations
  2. The GCNJ Board
  3. Administrative offices
  4. The Academy of the New Church

The things an Executive Bishop focuses on, what he allocates his time to, and the uses he advocates for, maintains, or discourages, have a significant effect on the life of the GCNJ that we experience. I have seen how the experiences, insights, leadership and management qualities of the last five Executive Bishops have had a significant impact on the life of the GCNJ. The future of this organization I care so much about will likewise be influenced by the next Executive Bishop.

At the June International Council of the GCNJ Clergy the process for nominating the next Executive Bishop was discussed and agreed upon. It includes the call for each pastor to take counsel of people in his pastoral sphere in preparation for possibly making a nomination to the office and for our deliberations at the June 2018 Clergy meetings. I invite you to express any thoughts or priorities you have for this nomination or the future of the GCNJ to me or any other minister on staff.

The clergy of the GCNJ can make one or more nominations. In making the nomination we are asked to cite the reasons for making the nomination. A person needs at least two nominations to be considered. The nominations submitted are “blended” by a committee and sent to the clergy together with a curriculum vitae for each candidate showing his career assignments, positions held, education, a list of papers written and published, and a statement by each nominee concerning his vision for the church and philosophy of leadership. The GCNJ Board members will also receive the names, CVs, nominating statements and answers to questions posed by the Board in time for the Board to review and discuss them.

Next June the International Council of the Clergy will select one nominee which will then go to the GCNJ Board for them to consider affirming this nomination. The nomination then goes out to the GCNJ membership to vote to affirm or withhold affirmation of the name. Contingent on affirmation by the membership, the new Executive Bishop will assume his role in July of 2019.

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