Mark Twain once wrote, “"People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made.” As a former attorney who worked with Plan Commissions and City Councils, I can attest to the veracity of this statement. The legal process is messy. It is a series of hard, bright lines which everyone swears will not be crossed until they are, a series of deadlines that are absolute until they’re not, and espousing high, inviolable principles while secretly practicing pragmatism.
I am pleased to report that this was not my experience at our Electing Convention held in Columbia last Saturday. Electing conventions are not meant to be places where political deals are cut, but the movement of the Holy Spirit discerned. Although they always have some kind of legal drama, their purpose is not to write law, but to remember that God’s law is written upon our hearts and to be guided by that law: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Tomorrow will mark one week since our Electing Convention was held at Trinity Cathedral in Columbia. Through a careful, respectful, prayerful and holy process of listening to and discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit, The Very Rev. Daniel P. Richards was elected on the fifth ballot. However, the process doesn’t end there. In order for Daniel to take office, a majority of the Bishops and Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church must vote to assent to his election before we can proceed to his consecration in February. If this does not occur, then we start back at square one.
While I know that this Email article is uncharacteristically short, it has been a very long two weeks. I have been blessed to work with our Bishop, the staff of the Diocese, excellent attorneys, clergy colleagues, willing volunteers, and faithful laity (including St. James’ delegates) throughout the planning process and finally, bringing it all to fruition in the Electing Convention.
Please keep the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, the Bishops and Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church, as well as Daniel, Amy, and their family in your prayers as we prepare to seek the consents necessary to welcome Daniel as our ninth bishop in February.