Originally published on the Western Jurisdiction website | July 14, 2021
Last week, the College of Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction met with leaders of the five Work Groups we commissioned earlier in the year to consider how we continue to be faithful in our mission and ministry during this time of postponed General and Jurisdictional Conferences. In late April we sent forth an update on the work. We are so very grateful for the extensive work these groups have accomplished even as they continue to labor diligently. All this is to aid you, the delegates, as you consider the request from the Council of Bishops that each Jurisdiction determines the number of bishops to be elected at the next regular scheduled Jurisdictional Conferences set for November 2-5, 2022. As you know, this matter is on the agenda for the Special Called July 17, 2021 Western Jurisdiction Conference.
We believe that the efforts of the Work Groups are interconnected including providing insights and questions that inform the decision about the number of bishops the Western Jurisdiction should elect in 2022. We acknowledge that the WJ Committee on Episcopacy bears its own responsibility and authority when it comes to the election of bishops. The Work Groups are already sharing information with the Committee on Episcopacy for its consideration. You the delegates are the ultimate decision-makers and we the College and Work Groups want to share our learnings with you as well. Above all, we recognize that the future of our work as a Jurisdiction requires prayerful discernment on the part of all of us together.
Our work last week clarified for us that we have yet more work to do. Primary in this work is the input, reflections, concerns and questions of our Conference delegations. Already some of you have expressed to us your concern that you are not ready to make the critical decision of how many bishops the WJ should prepare to elect in 2022. For these reasons, we are proposing a second Special Called Western Jurisdiction Conference to be held on November 13, 2021. Our hope is that our upcoming July 17, 2021 Jurisdictional Conference would offer the space for consideration of the reports from the Work Groups, thoughtful reflection, and engaged dialogue but with no final decision on the number of bishops to be elected being made on that day. The November 13, 2021 Jurisdictional Conference through a recommendation from the WJ Committee on Episcopacy would then take up the matter of the number of bishops to be elected in November 2022.
We are reaching out to the delegations to keep you informed, and to receive any feedback you would want to share with us. Your wisdom is important to us. We would appreciate your considering this letter as a delegation and giving your bishop feedback that will then be shared with the entire College of Bishops. You and your delegation will be receiving the Work Group reports by July 11.
May God continue to bless you in all the good you do in the Church and in the world.
Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops,