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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Choices in Chicago: A Trinity of Women

I am overwhelmed by the announcement of the nominees for Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago. The statement from the Rev'd Susan Russell, national president of IntegrityUSA, follows below.

This is Jane Gould, seminary classmate and dear friend. Rector of St. Stephen's Church, in the old Mill Girl town of Lynn, MA. She is more than competent. Smart. Articulate. Passionate. Deeply committed to the justice of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She'll make an amazing, wonderful bishop. She'll do Jimmy Montgomery's old diocese proud.

(For those of you who are new on the scene, Bishop Montgomery would not allow the ordination of women on condition of his Anglo-Catholic conscience, but allowed his suffragan, Quintin E. Primo, to ordain in his stead). .


This is Tracey Lind, a former colleague in the diocese of Newark, a partner in ministry, and also a dear friend. Presently, dean of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, OH, she was in the running in the Diocese of Newark, but removed her name just before General Convention in Columbus in 2006. She is a priest who knows about and lives the challenges and joys of leadership, a pastor with a tender and caring heart, and a visionary on fire with the gospel of Christ Jesus. She'll be a bishop who will challenge the church even as she tends her flock with great care.

And this . . . this . . . is Margaret Rose. One of my oldest friends and accidental mentor. The first woman to be an unsuspecting role model for me to be woman who is also priest when she worked first, as Cox Fellow at the Cathedral in Boston, MA and then as Assistant at The Church of St. John the Evangelist, Bowdoin St., Boston, MA when I was seminarian and then newly ordained deacon in that place. She is presently Director of Women's Ministries at the National Episcopal Church at 815 Second Ave in NYC. She is more than well qualified to be bishop and will bring both excitement and competence to the task.

There are two men who are also nominees: The Rev'd Jeffrey D. Lee, Rector, St. Thomas Church, Medina, Wash. I regret to say that I do not know him, but he must be specular to be in such esteemed company.

The other is The Rev. Timothy B. Stafford, Rector, Christ Church, Philadelphia. I know Tim from his time at All Saint's, Pasadena. If you want to have your socks blown off, check out his
sermon last Sunday at All Saints.

(Again, that link is: http://aschu.convio.net/videos/TSafford070826Sermon.html)

Clearly, they are amazing men.

Obviously, I'm rooting for the women.

No surprise, my heart is "strangely warmed" by the appearance of the name of Tracey Lind on the ballot.

Never mind B033. It not only has no canonical standing, it is, at this point, nothing more than a bad memory.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in urging the House of Deputies to pass this heinous resolution, said that B033 was, "the best we can do at this time."

That was then.

This is now.

We can do better.

As evidenced by the Lind nomination, we've moved light years in the time since Columbus.

The neo-Puritan, conservative, so-called orthodox, "fundgelicals" have, time and time and time again, shot themselves in the foot and blamed everyone else for their limp so often that they have lost any credibility they once might have had.

That's pretty evident from everything, of late, out of Canterbury and York.

So, allow me to do what is the high calling of all religious leaders who have, even more than the rest of the church, a firm grasp on the obvious.

Allow me, please, to make the following proclamation:

This is a remarkable slate.

I rejoice to be alive at this time in the life of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

I fervently pray for the people of the Diocese of Chicago, and the House of Bishops which meets with the Archbishop of Canterbury in three weeks and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as their deadline either "approaches" or "looms," depending on your particular perspective.

I also pray for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Mostly, I pray for each and every one of the candidates. I hope you will, too.

This episcopal race is like being eligible for the Olympics. Just being nominated in the presence of the other candidates is worthy of a gold medal.

God be with each and every one of them.

August 28, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Integrity Responds to List of Candidates for Bishop of Chicago

"The big news today is that discernment has trumped discrimination in the Diocese of Chicago," said Integrity President Susan Russell. "The inclusion of the Very Rev. Tracey Lind on the list of five extraordinarily qualified candidates for Bishop of Chicago is a bold step forward and a sign of hope and encouragement not only to LGBT Episcopalians but to the whole church. Her experience and leadership make her an excellent candidate and Integrity applauds the Diocese of Chicago for not allowing the forces advocating bigotry over ability to dominate their nomination process.

It is long past time for the Episcopal Church to acknowledge that B033 -- the 2006 resolution designed to prevent the election of a gay or lesbian bishop -- has failed in its attempt to balance the unity of the Anglican Communion on the backs of the LGBT faithful. There is no turning back on the full inclusion of the baptized into the Body of Christ -- only moving forward into God's future as an Episcopal Church committed to mission and ministry, to unity in diversity.

Integrity extends congratulations to all the candidates, any one of whom will make a fine bishop for the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Chicago's diverse list of qualified candidates is a sign of the end the 'season of fasting' at the expense of the vocations of gays and lesbians in the Episcopal Church and the whole church should rejoice and be glad in that!

(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
president@integrityusa.org
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2741 (office)

3 comments:

Caminante said...

It is an amazing slate and I pray especially for our sisters (yeah I am biased and will say as much). Bravo for Chicago!

Jim said...

I am so proud of my diocese. We had a very broad representation on that committee, and I think we have an amazing slate. Now, pray for us(!) we have to select a bishop from among them.

My only criticism is that several great people here in Chicago, are not nominated. What is it about search committees that they cannot see their back yards? Ah well, other diocese will benefit.

FWIW
jimB

Susan Russell said...

Brava!