Wyoming’s internet sensation

From the Diocese of Wyoming unofficial listserve:

Without plan, preparation or promotion, the Election of Wyoming’s 9th Bishop was broadcast over the internet using a laptop, cellphone and cheapie web camera. (There is no WiFi in the Cathedral.)

Thad Hunter from St. Mark’s-Casper came to witness the election with all of his portable gear in tow and we set it up in the loft in back of St. Matthew’s.

With just a few Tweets, Facebook updates and a link from Wyoming Bishop Search, our viewership began to grow within a matter of minutes. When we hit 47 viewers, we thought we were a sensation. By the 4th ballot we had 100 people watching from around the country: Los Angeles, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Texas. In state, there were folks primarily from Evanston and Casper. Lindy, a teacher in China, gets the prize for checking in from farthest away.

The broadcast was hosted on UStream where, in addition to watching the events, viewers could instant message live with the host. They typed in their questions, we would answer either verbally or by typing and everyone else could see or hear the discussion. We had a wide range of questions about process, location, history, the nominees…and more. The educational aspect of the live stream alone made the broadcast valuable. (We would strongly recommend this web host — it’s works well and it’s FREE!) We got to such a large audience that Ustream added a moderator to the broadcast to see what we were up to.

Those who were watching got to witness the international internet debut of Bishop Bear, a honey bear (literally!) who’s been outfitted with a miter made by the Rev. Carole Buckingham of Kaycee, as well as a purple chasuble and stole crafted by Greg Kandt of Casper. The little honey bear joined the Walkabout at Holy Trinity-Gillette on March 1 after the bishop nominees’ lunch stop and served as much-needed comic relief for the Walkabout support team who were running on tight schedules and little sleep. Bishop Bear typically rode in the advance car. His picture was taken at each new location and texted back to the support crew on the bus so they’d know he arrived safely. Bishop Bear has an album of his travels which he has shared on the Bishop Search Website. (His journeys were also chronicled on Facebook and he has a following of fans from around the country!)


Bishop Bear was present (along with a few friends) for Sunday’s celebration at St. Mark’s, Casper where the congregation greeted Bishop-elect John S. Smylie with cheers and tears. Apparently Bishop Bear has already struck up quite the friendship with the new bishop-elect and is promised an invitation to the Consecration on July 31 at the Casper Events Center. Bishop Bear is already shopping for new vestments.

The Communications Team received widespread “thank-yous” for the broadcast — it enabled people who could not get to Laramie to be included in the Electing Convention. The discussion has already begun about live web-casting the Consecration. Hmmm….perhaps Bishop Bear can provide the color commentary!

(Click on photo to see larger image)

To see a slideshow of Bishop Bear’s adventures, go to Wyoming Bishop Search and click on the BISHOP BEAR slideshow link on the right side of the page.

Bishop Bear sends his blessings to you all!


Communications Team


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