Electing a Bishop Coadjutor

 Bishop Coadjutor Election

The Search for a New Bishop

In August of 2020 we embarked on a journey, guided by the Holy Spirit, to find the next Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope. As often happens in the Anglican Church, this person will serve for some time as Bishop Coadjutor, the next bishop who will eventually lead our diocese, but overlapping in partnership with Bp. Breedlove as he completes his ministry as Bishop Ordinary.  Eight months later, we are grateful to God for his guidance and provision throughout this process, and it is with great joy that we now announce our two finalists for Bishop Coadjutor.

Bishop Coadjutor Finalists

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope,

I am writing to you today on behalf of the Nominating Committee to announce the slate of finalists for the April 29, 2021 Bishop Coadjutor election and to invite you to fast and pray for our Diocese as we seek to discern the Lord’s will for this next season of our diocesan life.

The Nominating Committee has worked diligently for the past eight months to bring you this slate. Individually and corporately, we have sought the Lord for wisdom, discernment and unity, and I am thankful for the blessing of unanimity that has pervaded our discussions. We have been encouraged by your prayers, and especially appreciate Canon for Prayer, Rev. Teresa Kincaid, and the Diocesan Prayer Team’s intercession for this work.

All of our activities have been conducted in accordance with the ACNA’s Archbishop’s  Customary for Diocesan Election of a Bishop and our diocesan Canons , specifically Title I, Canon 4. We are grateful for the assistance and guidance received from Bishop Bill Murdoch, who serves as advisor to ACNA dioceses as they elect a new bishop. 

As a committee, our role has been to screen and assess all nominees to ensure that the slate we present consists only of people who meet all of the qualifications sent out in the Customary and the Canons. Our process began in the summer of 2020 with the receipt of nominees. We received nominations from people within and outside of the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, providing both internal and external candidates. Several nominees withdrew themselves from consideration upon further prayer and reflection, citing legitimate personal, professional, and theological reasons. The remaining nominees then supplied us with a CV, a spiritual autobiography, and a set of essays addressing matters of personal life and faith, theological beliefs, leadership philosophy and experiences, gospel mission and radical generosity, and pastoral philosophy and experiences.

After prayerfully reviewing all of the documentation, the nominating committee conducted multiple rounds of interviews with the nominees, asking everyone the same set of more specific questions on the areas listed above, in addition to specific questions tailored to each nominee’s written responses. We also spent time interviewing the candidates’ wives. Reference questionnaires were checked and interviews were conducted with the nominees’ references: former and current bishops, vestry leaders, former employees, and personal friends.

At this stage we also ensured that candidates were solidly orthodox in their theology, addressing, among other things, matters of sexuality and gender and the sanctity of marriage and life.  In addition, we were well satisfied that candidates were in line with our diocesan positions on distinctives such as the ministry and ordination of women, a high commitment to church planting and gospel mission expansion, theological rigor, and lifelong catechesis, among others.

In addition, background checks were conducted for the candidates by Oxford Document Management and Vigilant Employee Screening, as well as an independent psychological and marital evaluation and physician’s certification that they are physically fit to serve. As directed by the Archbishop’s Customary, a subset of the Nominating Committee reviewed these screening documents to ensure the nominee’s privacy. Finally, the nominee’s names were submitted to the ACNA’s College of Bishops and they were invited by the Dean of the College of Bishops to sign the Covenant to Fulfill the Obligations of an ACNA Diocesan Bishop. 

As the culmination of the Nominating Committee’s assessment and screening process, we present the following names for your consideration for the office of Bishop Coadjutor:

Rev. Alan Hawkins

Rev. Ben Sharpe.

The Nominating Committee has requested each candidate to provide the diocese with a variety of documents to assist everyone in understanding who these men are and how the Lord has brought them to this place. All of these documents are available below, and Bishop Steve has recorded a video offering his blessing on this process and the upcoming election that you can see here .

We strongly encourage you to read through and listen to all these resources.

The Nominating Committee will be hosting a  Zoom Q&A session with each candidate in April. If you have a question you’d like the candidates to address, please send it to Canon Ben Bowman  no later than March 26.  The Nominating Committee will gather and consolidate these questions and ask them to the candidates at their respective Zoom call.

The Zoom Q&A with Rev. Alan Hawkins will be April 13, 2021 at 7 pm.

The Zoom Q&A with Rev. Ben Sharpe will be April 15, 2021 at 7 pm.

These calls will be recorded and posted on our website for those unable to attend live. 

As a committee, we are grateful to be able to say with confidence that both of these men are excellent candidates for the role of Bishop Coadjutor. In preparation for the election on April 29, we ask that you watch the brief message from Bishop Steve, read through each candidate’s packet, send your questions to Canon Ben Bowman, most importantly, fast and pray as you seek to discern the Lord’s provision for our diocese.

If you have any questions about our process, please reach out to me. It has been an honor to serve our Lord and the diocese through the Nominating Committee. 

In Christ,

Jessica Patton, Chair

On behalf of the Nominating Committee:

Ann Borah, Lay Member, Appalachian Mountain Deanery

Jerald Walz, Lay Member, Appalachian Mountain Deanery

Rev. Brian Campbell, Clergy Member, Triangle Tidewater Deanery

Ashley May, Lay Member, Metro Mid-Atlantic Deanery

Rev. Mark Rudolph, Clergy Member, Metro Mid-Atlantic Deanery

Eddie Waren, Lay Member, Eastern North Carolina Deanery

Rev. Kevin Whitfield, Clergy Member, Blue Ridge Deanery

Jeff Whitworth, Lay Member, Triad Deanery

Ryan Willers, Lay Member, Northeast Deanery

Jessica Patton, Lay Member, Northeast Deanery

Ex Officio:

Bishop Quigg Lawrence, Bishop Suffragan

Canon Ben Bowman, Secretary

A message from the bishop

Prayers for the Election of a bishop

For Principal Sunday Services

Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and on earth: Look graciously on your Church and send your Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide those who shall choose a Bishop for this Diocese. Grant that they will choose a faithful shepherd, a steward of your Word and Sacraments, who will drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine, and vigorously promote missionary work and the spiritual growth of those entrusted to his care. Grant that we may receive a faithful pastor who will equip the saints for ministry in all that they undertake, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For All Other Services

Almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give thy holy Apostles many excellent gifts, and didst charge them to feed thy flock; we humbly request thy favor and blessing as we seek a new Bishop and defender of the faith for the Diocese of Christ our Hope. In thy good time, bring us a good shepherd who will diligently preach thy Word and duly administer the godly discipline thereof, that we and all thy people may obediently follow the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Selection of a Bishop or Other Minister

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a Bishop for this Diocese that we may receive a faithful pastor who will preach the Gospel, care for your people, equip us for ministry, and lead us forth in fulfillment of the Great Commission; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.