Go to my posts here and here, scroll down into the comments, and you'll find several links, as well as some encouragement to pray. Grateful to cp for the work and contribution!
The election is this Saturday, May 9th.
Our parish delegates and several parishioners who had attended a walkabout met yesterday to compare notes.
None of us are willing to vote for Dunn. His answers have not been deep or have been theologically troubling - and questions about membership losses and uncanonical practice in his congregation have not been answered.
Tarrant - he was our front runner going into the walkabouts, and some of our delegates still have him #1. But he "fell a few notches" among some of our other folks, when he seemed overwhelmed by controversial issues. Even one of my more "progressive" members said of him, "I'm struggling with some of these issues - but I'm not running for bishop." There are questions about his ability to "guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church" in the tough national church meetings as well as locally.
Floberg definitely rose in our parish delegation's rankings and is the front runner for some. He has the most developed and clear theology of the four, he is able to state his positions on hard issues, and he has an established track record of work at the national church level. His ability to raise up vocations and youth ministry on the Standing Rock Reservation impressed some of my parishioners, in particular one who grew up on a Reservation.
Stebinger also came up in our estimation. His written responses seemed a bit formal and distant, but in person more of his warmth and humanity came up. It impresses several of our folks that he has grown a congregation in a diocese marked by decline. Also his statement of building consensus rather than jumping rashly into controversial decisions has appeal. Although he made an effort to explain his daughter's ordination issues during informal conversation, his failure to hit this head on in his public answers still does not sit well with some of our delegates.
Several of my delegates have significant life experience in government, non-profits and academia. They expressed several concerns about gaps in the process that make an informed decision difficult:
- The candidates are not asked to put forward a coherent statement of priorities for the Diocese. Something like, "What would be your primary investments of time and energy upon arrival as Bishop?"
- It would be helpful to have some sense of who nominated or endorsed the candidates, and to see references.