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[HoB/D] Re: Finance Reform for Elections/Consecrations of Bishops

Bishop XXXX,

Thanks to you and others who have responded to my appeal for finance
reform for elections and consecrations of bishops.  I appreciate your
concern that bishops and dioceses should have the freedom to choose
their own liturgies.

I asked whether we might need canonical changes:  I did not assert
that we do.

Like another who responded, I too prefer to encourage reform rather
than to require it.  I agree that the humble model set by Bishop Phil
Duncan works best because he chose it, rather than having thrust upon
him.  Nevertheless, it is a model, and one that the church should
uphold for others to emulate with creativity of their own.  I am
disappointed that so few do.

Do you have preferences as to how much money and time dioceses spend
on elections and consecrations, or would you have them freely choose
extravagance over modesty?

As I said in my first post, I feel that much of the money raised
should be re-routed towards the new bishop's discretionary funds to
enable the bishop's servant ministry.

Even regarding liturgical style:  I find it instructive that the more
regal options derived from competition with the secular styles of
monarchs, not from the humble style to which the shepherd's staff
bears witness.  But even if a bishop-elect prefers a coronation, the
diocese must choose whether to budget it wisely or wastefully. The
original Palm Sunday parade could not have cost very much, nor did the
Maundy Thursday meal.

I would like for modern equivalents of foot-washing to define
episcopal ministry, rather than serve merely as annual photo-ops for

Consecrations are one of the more dramatic events by which a diocese
gets into secular news.  They can as easily model servanthood as
pomposity.  How many of our current ceremonies would send the message,
"You are welcome here"?

The 147 bishops now living in retirement served an average of 14.8
years before retiring (retiring at an average age of 64.3).
Therefore, many of those who budget elections and consecrations have
no prior experience of doing so, nor does the bishop-elect.  That
seems all the more reason for them not to work in isolation from the
best suggestions of the whole church.

I do not know the best advice, nor even the best way to get that
advice:  that is why I began this discussion.

I am not reacting to any particular election or consecration, but
reacting to impressions derived  diocesan profiles for elections (some
of them obscenely expensive to produce) read during my last 6 years on
a Standing Committee and to my impressions derived from reading about
elections and consecrations for over 40 years.  I would like for
responsible persons to gather evidence less anecdotally.  There are
some good models of stewardship in some of them; there are some bad

A vast majority of our citizens think we need finance reform regarding
secular elections.  Surely there is nothing sinister in suggesting
finance reform of episcopal elections either.


Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., #12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew   973-395-1068
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