Archdeacon Jennifer McKenzie put forward as a candidate for election as Bishop of Georgia

The Diocese of Georgia has announced that Archdeacon Jennifer McKenzie is one of five candidates put forward for election to become the 11th Bishop of Georgia. The election process is scheduled to take place on the 15th and 16th November at a convention at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia

Archdeacon Jennifer was nominated by a parishioner in that diocese to the selection committee earlier this year and has gone through a period of discernment to decide whether she should pursue this ministry.

Jennifer said “while there have been many dioceses in the Episcopal Church searching for bishops this is the first where I have felt God speaking to me. Georgia is a place I know well, is close to my heart and it felt right that I should test what God’s will for me is. I have not taken this step lightly. The process is very public so to be part of it, whether chosen or not, can be extremely testing. To even start to contemplate this I have had to be sure. I believe that for whatever reason and regardless of the outcome God wanted me to be part of this.

“I adore my ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool. My work here supporting God’s mission in Wigan and West Lancashire is extremely rewarding as we ask God for a bigger church to make a bigger difference with more people knowing Jesus and more justice in the world. So while I test, as we all do, what God’s will is for me I know that I have plenty I can achieve here.

"I would value prayer as I enter the next stage of this process, that I and my fellow candidates feel at peace with the process and that God’s spirit of wisdom and discernment guides all those charged with making this important decision.”

Bishop Paul added “I really value Archdeacon Jennifer’s ministry here in Liverpool but I know that the God of surprises can unsettle us and test our ministry in different ways and different places. I hope you will join me in praying for Jennifer and all involved in this. This public process demands a great amount of patience and resilience and we trust that God remains in control. Whatever the outcome Jennifer has my full confidence and support”.

Alongside her fellow candidates, Jennifer will attend a series of walkabout meetings in October. These will be across the diocese enabling clergy and laity to get to know them.

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The selection process

The Episcopal Church follows a different process for selecting bishops. To the Church of England

This ends in an election process where members of the annual convention of the diocese vote for their preferred candidate. The successful candidate must have a majority of lay and clergy votes. Then within 120 days a majority of diocesan bishops and Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church must consent to the election. 

They follow this process for as they say “The sharing of lay and clerical authority is a bedrock in the Episcopal Church, as is the affirmation of call by the community one is called to serve. We elect our bishops so that the whole diocese has ownership in the process and can feel confident that the new bishop really is our bishop, chosen by the majority of delegates to the Annual Convention of the diocese.”

The journey started, much in the same way as here, with a selecting committee listening to diocesan needs and drawing up a profile of the bishop they would want. Candidates who matched the profile were tested by the Selection Committee ahead of the announcement of those being put forward to election.

You can find out more at www.georgiabishopsearch.org