Last Friday evening I sat in a crowded parish hall and listened to Q&A with the four candidates for the 10th bishop of South Dakota. I'm a lay delegate to the electing convention which will be held in Pierre, SD tomorrow, so it particularly was important for me to be there and to listen intently. I took copious notes. The diocese provided me and the other delegates with detailed information about the candidates prior to the presentation, which I read carefully and asked Taciturn to read as well. It was interesting how different a couple of them were very different in person than on paper. I had rank ordered the candidates based not only on what I read on the bios but from what I could get from Googling them. In person, one was much more eloquent than on paper--very well spoken and quick on his feet. One who was excellent on paper had one heck of a time getting his words out unless he was passionate about something. That one had been my #1 choice until I heard him speak as well as some of his answers to the questions put to the entire group; he dropped to #3.
Having said that, I think that three of these candidates would serve the diocese well as bishop--as well as represent our diocese well in the House of Bishops. One I truly think is all sizzle and no steak (very superficial both on paper and in person), and is looking for a nice place to serve out the remaining years until he retires. I know I'm not the only one who thinks that about this particular candidate; one retired priest mentioned that this candidate is in "over his head."
I will not say in this public space whom I support. I'll write about that afterward. I've engaged in several conversations with interested people in my church and people who know me know where I stand as well as why. Please pray that I continue to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
If you are interested, two Q&A sessions are on YouTube. Search bishop walkabout and you will get links. Since they both were three hours in length, I can't really link to one video.
My neighbor, also a lay delegate, and I will leave for Pierre in a few hours. Please pray for us and our diocese as we engage in this process. Pray that we truly discern the will of God and listen to the wisdom and guidance provided by the Holy Spirit as we elect the next bishop of this diocese.