As his retirement in August 2020 approaches, Bishop Lee has offered the diocese’s clergy some “pastoral advice” about putting forward new nominees for holy orders until a new bishop has taken office.
“Discerning who is called to ordained ministry is the work of all God’s people,” said Bishop Lee. “But the bishop of a diocese has a particular canonical role to play. Between my retirement and the ordination and consecration of a new bishop in January 2021, it will not be possible for people in this diocese to proceed through the discernment process in a timely way.”
The guidance, which Bishop Lee gave clergy at the annual clergy conference in early October, is not a prohibition on nominations or a halt to the diocese’s ordination process, he says. Instead, he is asking clergy to help potential nominees avoid a situation in which their discernment process would be unnecessarily delayed.
Between now and next summer, Bishop Lee will continue to work with all postulants currently in the ordination process. People currently discerning a call to ordained ministry with congregational committees can use the time between now and a new bishop’s ordination to deepen their work in their local communities, he says.