The Eastern West Indies’ Province of the Moravian Church may have found itself in a similar position in electing a new Bishop as the Anglican Diocese of Barbados did last year.
However, the Moravian Church will still be able to function efficiently, even if the position is left vacant.
During the Church’s Provincial Synod, which continued today at the Sharon Moravian Church, over 100 delegates from ten islands endured over a dozen rounds of voting for the Bishop, but none of the 25 eligible candidates secured the necessary two-thirds majority.
Secretary of the Provincial Elders Conference, Reverend Dr Adrian Smith told a press conference the delegates would continue voting as “the spirit leads” until late into the night. He said such a result was not peculiar.
“We have had situations where persons who have been leading in the voting process move downward and then someone who had low votes moves upward. So one is not able to truly gauge that process… a while ago there was a synod where someone was elected on the 44th ballot,” said Smith.
He explained there was no campaigning or canvassing in the process, which would see the 471st Moravian Bishop since the church’s 1467 establishment in the Eastern Caribbean.
All elders are eligible to become bishops and unlike the Anglican Church, the laity and clergy vote on the same ballot. The Moravian Bishop is more pastoral and upon appointment, becomes a Bishop of the church’s “worldwide unity”.
If no Bishop is chosen by the end of this year’s Synod, the current Bishops will continue to serve until the next one in three years in Tobago when the process will begin again.
Last November, after an extended and sometimes tumultuous process, 47-year-old Reverend Michael Maxwell was appointed Anglican Bishop of Barbados from the Provincial office of the House of Bishops.
The decision to select Barbados’ Bishop fell to the regional body after the local Synod failed after four attempts to elect either Dean of the Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels, Dr Jeffrey Gibson or Rector of St George Parish Church, John Rogers.
Among the 25 elders being considered for the top position among Moravians are ten women, one of whom has been leading in the voting process. The church has only appointed four female Bishops since it was established in the Eastern Caribbean.
The church also voted on approximately 15 resolutions covering finance, governance, rituals, doctrine, worship, Christian education, youth, theological education, social action and evangelism. [email protected]