The nomination and application process for the election of the eighth bishop of the Diocese of West Missouri will close March 22, according to the chair of the bishop search committee.
"The diocese is in a good place. We have interesting potential for the future," said Dr. Linda Robertson, chair of the 14-member search committee, during a March 5 telephone interview.
"We need someone who can be flexible and creative and a good pastor to us all. We don't have some of the problems that other dioceses have had but, like everyone else, we're facing budget and other issues," she added.
She said that separate nomination and transition committees are already in place. "They're made up of people who have been very involved in the church and are serious about calling the best possible individual to help lead us into the future."
Retiring Bishop Barry Howe was elected in 1997 and consecrated in 1998.
The Diocese of West Missouri was formed around 1889-90 when the Diocese of Missouri, which had included the entire state, was divided along a north-south line roughly in the middle of the state.
The diocese encompasses 51 congregations in a relatively large geographical area and has a large impact on the community through its feeding and caring ministries.
Once the nomination and application process closes, additional candidates may be nominated by petition. That process will end sometime in September, according to the diocesan website.
The election of the eighth bishop will occur at the 121st convention of the diocese, held Nov. 5-6. A March 5, 2011 consecration is planned.