Petition Candidate Process

Process for Nomination of a Candidate for Bishop of the Diocese of Northern California by Petition:


The purpose of a Petition Process is to allow the addition of a candidate after the Search Process is concluded and a slate of candidates is presented to the diocese. A Petition Candidate will undergo the same degree of background and reference screening as the announced slate of candidates, and by agreeing to be a petition candidate, a candidate consents to the Standing Committee conducting a thorough background review. The Petition process for each such candidate shall remain confidential until the Standing Committee certifies a petition candidate has fulfilled these procedures and has approved the candidate to be added to the final slate of candidates. Any Episcopal priest or bishop in good standing may become a petition candidate provided that the criteria listed by the Standing Committee are met.


The Petition Process has three phases: (1) identification of a candidate and completion of the Petition, (2) vetting of a candidate; and, (3) completion by the candidate of all Standing Committee requirements. 

Phase 1

Phase One opens on the same day as the announcement of the Slate of Candidates by the Standing Committee. Petitions will not be accepted until the slate is announced. Submissions due as part of Phase One include the following six items:

  1. The Letter of Petition naming the petitioning candidate and signed by (1) a minimum of six clergy (priests or deacons) canonically resident and eligible to vote in the Diocese of Northern California and (2) a minimum of six adult lay communicants of congregations in the Diocese of Northern California, and provided further (3) that those persons signing the petition shall be members of a minimum of twelve different congregations in the Diocese of Northern California, and provided further (4) that those persons signing the petition shall include at least one clergy and one lay member from a minimum of three of the seven deaneries of the Diocese of Northern California. No person may sign more than one petition for more than one candidate. The candidate may not be a signer of the petition. Members of the Standing Committee or the Search and Transition committees may not be signers. Instructions for how to complete the Petition are on the Petition form available here.

  2. A current resume, including current address and other contact information.

  3. An updated Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) portfolio.

  4. Three letters of recommendation (one from each of the following three sources): 

    • A clergy person

    • A lay person (not a member of your family)

    • A friend or colleague not connected with the Episcopal Church 

  5. A cover letter from petitioning candidates of no more than 300 words describing why they believe they are called through the Petition Process to be our Bishop, and the gifts they would bring to this ministry and how these gifts align with our diocesan profile.

  6. Completion of the application form, and essay questions, required of all candidates on the announced slate.

Phase One submission items must be sent via email to by 5 p.m., PST, on Dec. 12, 2018. No further petitions will be accepted after this date and time. This deadline is necessary because nominations from the floor of the electing convention will not be allowed due to the screening and background checks now required for all episcopal elections. The background check by Oxford Documents will begin upon receipt of a nominee by petition, and nominees will be required to help in expediting the process. These investigations, plus reference checks can take from three to six weeks. This also allows adequate time to prepare, double-check, and print ballots. The Standing Committee would appreciate notification as soon as possible that a candidate is initiating the petition process so that the background checks can commence.

Phase Two

In Phase Two, after it is determined by the Standing Committee that the petition is in order, the candidate will be contacted by the Office of Pastoral Development (OPD) to arrange for a psychiatric exam by a psychiatrist approved by The Episcopal Church. The candidate will also be contacted and offered several choices of dates for a meeting with a subcommittee of the Standing Committee to ask further background and personal questions via video conferencing. During this phase, reference checks also will be underway. A candidate may be asked to facilitate rapid responses from references.

Phase Three

While background checks are underway, petition candidates are required to submit the following five items (also required of slate candidates) for posting on the bishop election website. The Standing Committee will ensure that the same types of materials for all candidates, both slate and petition, will be posted on the website. It is possible that further materials will be requested of all candidates after the initial postings on the website. 

  1. A two-minute video of the candidates providing an introduction and briefly answering why they feel called to be our bishop

  2. Still photo of the candidate

  3. A biographical statement of not more than 250 words

  4. Resume

  5. Answers to the essay questions on the application form

Also during Phase Three: The candidate’s physician must complete forms provided by the Office for Pastoral Development attesting to the candidate’s good health and submit these forms to the Standing Committee.

Phase Three submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. PST on Jan. 9, 2019. Completed items shall be sent to

A petition candidate may be added to the slate of candidates by the Standing Committee, provided that person passes the screening, reference, and background checks. The Standing Committee reserves the right to reject a petition candidate.

Petition Process Timeline

  • Opening of Petition Process begins when slate candidates are announced. Petitions will not be accepted until then.

  • Dec. 12, 2018: Phase One Petition items are due. No further petitions will be accepted. Phase Two Background & reference checks will begin immediately (requiring 3-6 weeks).

  • Jan. 9 2019: Phase Three items are due.

  • After background and reference checks are complete and Phase Three materials are received, the Standing Committee will review all materials, determine if a petition candidate can be certified, and vote on whether to approve adding the candidate to the slate. If a petition candidate is certified and approved by the Standing Committee, that candidate is added to the slate of candidates listed on the website.

  • Petition candidate(s) are announced when approved, and supporting materials are included on the bishop search website. Certified Petition candidates are then invited to participate in the “walkabouts” in late January.

Questions about the Petition Process should be directed to the Rev. Cookie Clark, president of the Standing Committee at Please DO NOT address questions about the Petition Process to the Office of the Bishop.