The five-county Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles...

The five-county Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has announced that it will hold a convention to elect a new bishop Jan. 8-9, a year and a half after a vacancy occurred with the death of Bishop Robert A. Rusack.

Diocesan leaders had decided to make a careful study of what was needed in a new bishop and to come up with a profile of qualities that he (or she) should possess.

The qualifications released by the nominating committee this month said the new bishop should be highly spiritual, articulate, supportive of all ministries and sensitive to ethnic diversity, and a pastor to clergy and their families. Also, the candidate should not be "infatuated with the trappings of the office," should excel as a liturgical leader, be healthy, have a sense of humor but be a "serious thinker," and be a defender of the faith yet ecumenical in outlook, among other things.

Acknowledging that these criteria are viewed as "demanding," the chairman of the nominations committee joked in an interview, "Our Lord has not responded yet." Speaking seriously, the Rev. Charles Sacquety, the committee chairman, who is also rector of St. Wilfrid Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach, said a fellow priest aptly observed, "We are really looking for a world-class bishop."

Nominations close July 31, Sacquety said.

The Rt. Rev. Oliver B. Garver Jr., who has been serving as interim bishop, said in an interview that he has "let it be known that I don't want to be nominated. I'm retiring in 1990, when I will be 65." Garver said he would "move across the hall" at the diocesan headquarters in Los Angeles upon the election of a new bishop and resume his role as suffragan (assistant) bishop. He was elected to that position in 1985.

Rusack, who died July 16, 1986, was elected in 1974 to head the diocese, which embraces Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino counties, and half of Riverside County.


The Unitarian Universalist Assn. will hold its annual General Assembly in Palm Springs next year instead of Phoenix. The board of trustees of the Boston-based denomination this week reaffirmed its decision in April to withdraw the 1988 convention from the Arizona capital because of Gov. Evan Mecham's and the Legislature's refusal to reinstate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a paid state holiday. About 1,800 delegates to this year's General Assembly, meeting this week in Little Rock, Ark., were urged to send telegrams urging Arizona legislators to make the birthday a paid state holiday.

The Rev. Pat Robertson, still seeking support for a run at the 1988 Republican nomination for President, will be the opening session speaker Tuesday night at a convention of charismatic Christians at the Anaheim Convention Center. The 34th convention of the Costa Mesa-based Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, with 700,000 members, concludes on July 4.

Melkite Catholics, an Eastern Rite branch of Roman Catholicism, will open a five-day national convention Wednesday at the Century Plaza Hotel. About 1,200 delegates from 38 Melkite parishes in the United States are expected to attend. The Melkites are headed by Archbishop Joseph Tawil of Newton, Mass., who was appointed in 1970 by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Maximos V Hakim of Syria.


The Rev. Howard Wennes of Thousand Oaks has been elected bishop of the the Grand Canyon Synod of the new Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Wennes, a longtime regional administrator with the old American Lutheran Church, was elected on the fifth ballot last Saturday by delegates to the synod that serves Lutherans in Arizona and four southern Nevada counties. Wennes was third in balloting June 5 for bishop of the Southern California West Synod.

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