It is perceived that the Church, and this Diocese, is (sic) in decline. There is a declining and aging population. This is coupled with the loss of our youth who leave the diocese. There is a lack of evangelism.
I chuckled about the word "perceived." "Recognized" would be more honest.
Still, I am glad that this is on the table, and the questions asked of the eventual candidates need to hit this hard.
- + It is not enough for candidates to just restate the problem - "We need to find a way to tell our story" is an example of the useless bromides we don't need.
- + We need to hear real evidence that the next bishop has a gift for evangelism. We need to know Average Sunday Attendance trends from the churches the candidates served, or the measured impact of any diocesan office they've held.
- + I hope that those who vote will watch out for the anecdote trick. A candidate will tell a story of one or two families that joined the candidate's congregation "because we're so inclusive" and then posit that as proof of evangelistic zeal. (I remember one of the candidates for Presiding Bishop, I think the guy from Kentucky, using this gimmick in the video interviews when asked about "youth." He told some story about a conversation with a young guy and tried to magnify it into an epic achievement.) An anecdote isn't worth much if we don't see congregational or programmatic numbers that demonstrate something more.
Keep praying. Ask God to pour the Holy Spirit on the electors. May the Lord help us all to ask the right questions and discern well what the candidates say in their answers.