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First nominees for US Presiding Bishop announced

08 May 2015

ENS/MARY FRANCES SCHJONBERG

Stepping down: Dr Jefferts Schori preaches at the closing eucharist of the 77th Episcopal Church General Convention, in Indianapolis, in July 2012 

Stepping down: Dr Jefferts Schori preaches at the closing eucharist of the 77th Episcopal Church General Convention, in Indianapolis, in July 2...

FOUR names have been put forward to succeed Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, though more could still emerge before next week's deadline.

The four - all men in their fifties and sixties - have been nominated by the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop.

Other names can still be put forward before 12 May, however, provided that they are accompanied by the written permission of the named bishop.

The four names so far put forward are: the Rt Revd Thomas Breidenthal, aged 64, from the diocese of Southern Ohio; the Rt Revd Michael Curry, 62, from the diocese of North Carolina - the only non-white candidate; Dr Ian Douglas, 56, from the diocese of Connecticut; and the Rt Revd Dabney Smith, 61, from the diocese of Southwest Florida.

All nominees will address the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in June. Two days later, bishops will go to St Mark's Cathedral in Salt Lake City, Utah, to pray and reflect before voting for the next Presiding Bishop.

The candidate elected will not officially start his or her nine-year term as Presiding Bishop until 1 November.

Dr Jefferts Schori announced last autumn that she would not stand for re-election. She said that she did not believe she could serve another nine years in the post.

The decision meant that she could offer the Church a "stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year", and a "wholehearted engagement with necessary structural reforms", she said. She would continue to ensure that the Church became "more fully diverse".

Other elections will also be held during the General Convention for officers and members of many other church leadership bodies, including the Executive Council and trustees of the Church Pension Fund.

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