The Diocese of Newark is revising the diocesan profile it published to guide the search for its next bishop after discovering that a section of the profile was plagiarized from the profile of the Diocese of Bethlehem.
The Rev. Joseph Harmon, interim vice president of the diocesan Standing Committee, announced today that the search process is paused until January 2, 2018 at which time the application process, which had closed on November 17, will be reopened until January 10 to accommodate candidates who might wish to apply based on the revised profile.
This delay in the search process will not necessitate a change in dates for the episcopal election on May 19, or the consecration of the eleventh bishop of Newark on September 22, Harmon said.
Bishop Mark Beckwith, who has led the diocese since 2007, called for the election of a successor when he announced in February that he planned to retire.
The Standing Committee’s statement follows:
November 20, 2017
Last week, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Newark became aware of an issue of plagiarism involving our diocesan profile for the search for our eleventh bishop. This act is an unacceptable breach of trust and disruptive to the otherwise prayerful discernment of everyone presently engaged in our search process.
We discovered that the profile section entitled “The Bishop We Seek,” was plagiarized in its entirety from the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem’s search profile. This regrettable incident reveals poor judgement on the part of an individual, who subsequently resigned from the Search/Nominating Committee which created the profile. Our Standing Committee has offered our deepest apologies to Bishop Sean Rowe and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem.
After consulting with the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, Bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development, who oversees matters pertaining to episcopal elections for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, we have modified our search process timeline and are working to prayerfully revise the profile.
The profile has been removed from our diocesan website. A revised profile will be released on January 2, 2018, after a period of prayerful reflection. At that time, the application process will be re-opened and will remain open until January 10, 2018. The screening of our applicant pool will take place in January, culminating in the extension of invitations to a discernment retreat for selected applicants, scheduled for February 19 - 22, 2018.
Individuals who have already submitted their applications have been notified personally of the temporary interruption of our search process and they have been advised that should they wish to continue in the process based on the content of the amended profile, they will have an opportunity to update their essays.
Our electing convention remains scheduled for May 19, 2018 and the Consecration/Ordination will take place on September 22, 2018 with The Most Rev. Michael Curry presiding.
As we seek to join God in shaping our future, we trust that God’s faithfulness and grace will continue to guide us, and ask you to continue to hold our Diocese and our search for the eleventh bishop in prayer.