Bishop of Atlanta Nominated for 26th Presiding Bishop
See the Article from Episcopal News Service
Below is a letter from Bishop Alexander:
January 25, 2006
Dear Friends in Christ in the Diocese of Atlanta:
Grace to you and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord!
Today, after many months of discernment, prayer and consultation, the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the XXVI Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has announced its slate of candidates. I am deeply honored to be numbered among those bishops of our church that the Joint Committee has commended to the House of Bishops for its consideration and election, and to the House of Deputies for its consent.
I was surprised, many months ago, when members of the Joint Committee indicated to me that they wanted to consider me for this ministry. Lynn and I took some time and entered into our own period of prayer and discernment. Over the years, we have tried in every way to be faithful to the church we love so dearly. Our desire is always to be open to serving the Lord of the church under a call not always of our own devising. Looking back over the years, we are grateful to God for the rich and varied opportunities for service that have been given to us.
Our call to the Diocese of Atlanta has certainly been among the most important to us personally. As we have done many times before, we ask ourselves, in discernment and prayer, if there are any compelling reasons why we should not make ourselves available to the call of the church, should it come. We have done this thoughtfully, prayerfully and humbly, desiring only to be responsive and to offer ourselves to the service to which the church calls us. It has been in that spirit that we have been willing to move forward in this process.
Because of our great love and confidence in our church, we are certain that the Holy Spirit of the Risen Christ will work through the continuing discernment of our church and that the General Convention will select God’s choice to be our next presiding bishop. Of those who are nominated, that mantle will fall only on one of us, and that person, whoever she or he may be, will need the support of all of us in prayer, fresh energy and our full commitment to the mission and ministry of our church.
In the meantime, it is of greatest importance that the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Atlanta move forward on all fronts with as much devotion and vigor as we can muster. I will be orchestrating my work and that of our diocese as I always have – on the assumption that I am going to continue to be the Bishop of Atlanta. Nothing is served, and least of all the Gospel of Jesus, if we allow this to be a significant distraction and thereby fail to do those things God is calling us to in these days. You will have my fullest attention from now until the General Convention. Should the actions of our convention call us to new ventures of service, there will be plenty of time in the months that follow to make the necessary adjustments. Unless and until that happens, it is my strong desire that we operate as much as humanly possible in the normal mission-driven mode of the Diocese of Atlanta.
The very first thing I said after my election as Bishop of Atlanta was this: “I will only be as good a bishop as you pray for me to be.” Those words are particularly powerful to Lynn and me at this point. We deeply covet your prayers in these days. Pray, however, not only for us, but for our beloved church. Pray that the church’s discernment will be animated by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and that when all is accomplished, the will of God will have been faithfully discovered yet again.
Love and blessings!
Faithfully, in Christ,
+ John Neil Alexander