Do you follow the DOV Q&A column in the Virginia Episcopalian magazine? In each issue, a staff member provides a detailed response to a commonly asked question.
In the summer issue, Amy Williams, assistant to Bishop Johnston, explains the method behind the madness of the bishops’ visitation schedules.
Q. How is my church’s date on the bishop’s visitation schedule determined?
A. Well beyond canonical requirements, the tradition in the Diocese of Virginia is for a bishop to visit every parish every year, and for the diocesan bishop to visit every parish at least once every three years. Available dates for visitations are determined by review of the diocesan calendar of events, House of Bishops schedules and other meetings, when Easter falls, and vacation plans for the bishops. Placement of churches on open dates depends upon a number of factors including the most recent visitation by the diocesan bishop, the other churches in geographical proximity, the number of rites typically performed during visitations, and the time of the previous year’s visit.
Q. Can special requests for certain dates be made?
A. Yes, the bishops are happy to consider requests for them to join you for significant anniversary celebrations. It is also helpful to know dates that are not feasible for the parish to host a bishop such as an annual service held in an atypical situation. The earlier this information is received, the better the request can be accommodated, though no guarantees can be made.
Q. When and where is the schedule published?
A. The goal is to have the schedule completed by early September. Its publication is announced in the e-Communiqué newsletter and the schedule can be found on the diocesan homepage at thediocese.net as one of the “Quick Links.”