The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles reported January 12, 2010, that the 120-day consent process has begun for suffragan-bishops-elect Mary Glasspool and Diane Jardine Bruce. Requests for consent for Canon Glasspool’s consecration went out on January 5, and those for Canon Bruce’s went out January 8. The press release from the diocese indicated that the dates by which consents must be received are May 5 and May 8, respectively. For the consecration of a bishop to go forward, of course, a majority of Standing Committees in the church and a majority of bishops with jurisdiction must consent to the consecration within 120 days after requests for consent have been sent. I am grateful that we have the transparency of knowing these dates, even if we are likely to have little visibility into the balloting as it proceeds.
I was surprised that the consent deadline in each case was given as what we would normally think of as four months (not 120 days) after the beginning of the consent period. Since there has been some questionable counting of days in the past, I was relieved to discover that, for example, May 5 is indeed 120 days after January 5. Under what circumstances, I wondered, can this be the case. It is not always true; if the requests for consent are made on, say, October 5, 120 days later would take us only to February 2.
In a year that is not a leap year, it turns out that the beginning and end of a 120-day period are both on the same day of the month only when the period begins in January, February, November, or December. In a leap year, it never happens.
While pondering that little piece of trivia, mark your calendars.