Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Anceint Process of the House of Bishops Revealed

As we all well know this General Convention will elect a new Presiding Bishop. Initially the position of Presiding Bishop rotated geographically. After 1795 the Presiding Bishop was the senior bishop in order of consecration. Starting in 1926, the office became elective, the Presiding Bishop being chosen at General Convention by vote by all bishops, and approved by the House of Deputies. The office now has a nine-year term. Since 1938 the Presiding Bishop has been required to resign his or her former diocese after accepting election.
Discernment Attire
Since the first election of the Presiding Bishop in 1926 the order by which this grand ritual has taken place has been quite secret. Of course what we believe happens is that the bishops after prayer shall elect from among the candidates a new Presiding Bishop, taking a ballot as needed until one rises above the others. This my dear reader is of course the coverup to the true mystical gamesmanship afoot.

Secreted away for the last several months the candidates have been preparing for the difficult ordeal ahead of them. Upon arrival they shall be required to put on the discernment attire (pictured here to the right).

Upon arriving fully prepared for the events that follow they will take part in a series of physical entertainments in order to achieve the much needed points for appointment. 

They shall be required to take up the velocipede and follow the clues around downtown Salt Lake City. At each turn they shall have to stop and do a liturgy of candles and recite passages from Michno's liturgical panopticon. They will of course have to take with them a chosen acolytes to aid in the lighting and extinguishing of the candles, a censor and altar boy to hold the velocipede during the recitals. We should pray for the low churchmen for this is their weakest hour. Then upon return each will be scored in order of arrival. Then there will no doubt be cheering and harrumphing depending upon the lead. 
The Velocipede

The Oration of the Trinity
Afterwards there shall be a drink of sherry and respite for all given the tumult of our work in this first hour. The job of the Presiding Bishop is one though that is only allowed a bit of rest throughout the day so our candidates will be escorted and stationed about the room where they shall give a great oration. The oration will be judged upon its diction and upon the depth of knowledge regarding the triadic nature of the divine being. The other bishops shall meander through the great hall and listen while dining on cheese and fruit. This continues until they have reached the end of there educating. I fear given several of the candidates' history that there may be quite a bit of elocution and this will take copious hours.
Then a game of crocket shall be displayed so as to reveal their ability to properly perform at the frequent visitation picnic. Then they shall reveal how they have packed their own picnic basket and show that they are quite prepared at all times to entertain. No doubt they shall be judged even down to the jaunty nature of their boater. 

The highest point winners shall then engage in the art of pugilism. However, during the jabs and jibs the candidates will be required to announce the book of Acts verse by verse.

Lastly, the final game of discernment will come to bear and finally put an end to the time of prayer. Dear reader you know well we should hide nothing from you - we should spare you nothing. I was, as you shall be, surprised by the revelation of the final act of discernment. As this is the church of the Episcopals it is important that they may both be prepared for entertaining and to be entertained. So it is that the last and final (dreadful) exercise is to set the table appropriately. One fork out of place, one sherry glass out of sync, and one misspelling upon the place card and points gained throughout the day shall fall away.

Then shall the cheers be heard and resounding Hurrahs bellowed across the great hall. The winner shall be hoisted upon the shoulders of many and paraded around the room. The name shall quickly be taken to a secret room where a special group of the House of Deputies shall inspect the order of points for each entertainment. They shall discern if the secret process of selection was undertaken faithfully as described and then shall burn the paper. They shall forget what they have seen and present the name to the House of Deputies. Upon prayer and discernment and a vote by the House a herald shall go out and invite the new bishop to visit. 

Dear reader if you are in the room you will see for yourself the bit of perspiration, the heavy breath, and the slow movements of the new Presiding Bishop given their discernment work that day.

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