Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A New Bishop for the Church: An Impossible Vocation?

A new bishop was elected for The Episcopal Church today.

The Rev'd Jeffrey D. Lee, rector since 2000 of St. Thomas, Medina, Washington, was elected the bishop of Chicago on the second ballot.

He was elected on a slate which included one African American and two African males, three women, one of which was a lesbian, and two Caucasian males.

The results, reported on the
Diocese of Chicago web site, is as follows:

Ballot One Results:

Clergy Laity
GOULD 36 43
LEE 96 146
LIND 39 31
ROSE 5 6
SABUNE 41 76
Abstained 0 1

Needed for Election 129 147

Ballot Two Results: Jeffrey Lee is elected!

Clergy Laity
GOULD 22 29
LEE 134 203
LIND 7 9
ROSE 0 0
SABUNE 74 100
Abstained 0 0

Needed for Election 129 179

I apologize for the formatting of this post. I can't seem to control it.

Some would triumph in the name of progress the diversity of the slate.

Some would rejoice in the name of diversity the ballot results.

I am delighted to be among the madding crowd that welcomes the 50 year old Bishop Lee to to the Councils of the Church - especially in these troubled times on the day when the 44 year old bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, has resigned his post after only 4 years.

I can not - will not - hide my deep, deep despoilment at the showings of The Marginalized - people of color, women and lesbians - in this election.

Oh, yes. Gould and Lind did well.

Oh, yes. Sabune did well.

But, the bottom line is this: a straight, white man won.

A good, straight, white man, to be sure. Even now, the Progressive and Liberal Angels are rejoicing in heaven.

Even so, the women, the men of color, the lesbian, lost.

Furthermore, the women, the men of color and the lesbian lost in a progressive, liberal diocese which has a rich legacy of justice.

If women, men of color and a lesbian or gay person can't win an election to the episcopacy in the Diocese of Chicago, where can they be elected?

I'm asking the question in the time of schism in The Episcopal Church when the issue of access to the corridors of power is the defining issue as to whether or not the people of God stay in the Episcopal Church or leave for greener, more orthodox, pastures.

I'm not answering the question.

I'll leave that to the polsters and the political analysts.

I'll leave that to those who know these things far better than I.

For now, I offer prayers for our sister Tracey who would not have kept her name in were in not for her absolute conviction of vocation to the episcopate in the Diocese of Chicago.

Or Sabune, former Dean of the Cathedral in Newark who also allowed his name to go forward because he has been persuaded that he is call to the vocation of the episcopacy.

Or any of the other candidates, including the new bishop of the Diocese of Chicago.

What an awesome, humbling, impossible vocation.


Episcopal Life Online
November 10, 2007

Chicago elects Jeffrey D. Lee as bishop

By Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee was elected November 10 to be the 12th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

Lee, 50, rector of St. Thomas Church in Medina, Washington, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of eight nominees. He received 203 votes of 345 cast in the lay order and 134 of 241 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 179 in the lay order and 129 in the clergy order.

The election was held during the diocese's 170th annual convention at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel and Conference Center in Wheeling, Illinois.

Lee will succeed Bishop William Persell who is retiring with his wife, Nancy, to Cleveland in December.

Lee was ordained a deacon and priest in the Diocese of Northern Indiana in 1985, after earning the Master of Divinity degree from Nashotah House the same year. He served congregations in Indiana and Wisconsin before coming to St. Thomas in 2000. Lee and his wife, Lisa, are parents to two children.

Under the canons the Episcopal Church (III.16.4 (a)), a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to Lee's election and ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving the consent request.

The consecration is due to take place February 2 at the House of Hope, a 10,000 seat multi-purpose entertainment complex in Chicago that was founded by Illinois State Senator and Baptist minister James T. Meeks.

The other nominees were:

* the Rev. Jane S. Gould, 51, rector, St. Stephen's Memorial Episcopal Church, Lynn, Massachusetts;
* the Rev. Alvin C. Johnson Jr., 54, rector of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Barrington, Illinois;
* the Rev. Canon Robert K. Koomson, 66, pastor-in-residence at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois (in the Chicago diocese) and canon of St. Cyprian's Anglican Cathedral in the Diocese of Kumasi, Ghana;
* the Very Rev. Tracey Lind, 53, dean, Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio; * the Rev. Margaret R. Rose, 53, director of women's ministries, the Episcopal Church;
* the Very Rev. Petero Sabune, 55, chaplain at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, and associate at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ossining; and
* the Rev. Timothy B. Safford, 48, rector, Christ Church, Philadelphia.

Biographical profiles and the nominees' answers to the search committee's essay questions are posted at

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the
Episcopal News Service.

November 10, 2007

Integrity congratulates Jeffrey Lee on his election as the next Bishop of Chicago. "We look forward to working with Bishop-elect Lee in continuing Chicago's long history of working for the full-inclusion of the LGBT faithful in the life and witness of the diocese," said the Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity.

"Integrity also commends the Search Committee of the Diocese of Chicago for including the Very Rev. Lind as a candidate despite the chilling effects of Resolution B033—and Dean Lind herself for standing for election in spite of the House of Bishops' recent statement in New Orleans," continued Russell. "We may never know how significant a factor Resolution B033 was in the outcome of the Chicago election. However, we do know that Resolution B033 is noncanonical and discriminatory. Two dioceses—California and Rochester—have already passed resolutions to General Convention 2009 that will nullify B033. We strongly urge all bishops and deputies to support such resolutions and their intent to end B033's inequity when we get to General Convention 2009 in Anaheim."


The Rev. Susan Russell, President
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2741 (office)

Mr. John Gibson, Director of Communications
917-518-1120 (mobile



Nicely done, my dear!

susankay said...

Someone once said ( a long time ago) that Israel would be a real country when a Jewish cop arrested a Jewish protitute who was tried before a Jewish judge. Sexist and sectish but I understood it. TEC will be an inclusive church when a lesbian of color is nominated and not elected bishop and no one notices


P.S. -- It's ... not .com.

(The .com link evidently goes a an electronics & softward company. Who knew???)

Sister Mary Hasta said...

With all due respect, this ain't about no diversity slate. You're falling into the same misteak as the conservatives who were clutching their beads in horror at the fact there was a lesbianOMG on the slate: failing to trust in the movement of the Holy Spirit.

You do realise my poor dear Bishop Itty is on the record against homosexual clergy, right?

bronislava said...

hello! i just found your blog via the lgbtanglicans list. i am single-handedly the youth branch of the movement for the ordination of women here in sydney australia, where i often feel quite alone in my cause... especially as a fairly radical, activist lesbian. *sigh*
maybe i should move to the US. you people sound pretty cool. i look forward to reading your blog :)

MadPriest said...

I know you weren't standing but, even so, it should have been you. For a start, you have such marvelous teeth - I notice Jeffrey is keeping his lips tightly sealed.

Curious George said...

Mother Kaeton,

So, now we're supposed to evaluate choices of bishop simply on the basis of whether they're persons of color, women, or lesbian vs. "a straight, white male?" How sad and how offensive.

And no, I'm not a reactionary, but a "progressive gay Christian." I'm fighting for the day when decisions about ones suitability for positions, rites, etc., are regarded as irrelevant.

I would no more want to be chosen on the basis of being gay, than rejected for it. The idea that someone should be chosen because they're a woman, or of color, or GLBT, is only slightly less offensive than that such a person should be rejected on that basis.

KJ said...


We are cool! It only took 48 years for this gay nerd, but now I'm in with the cool crowd! ;-)

Lizbeth, I don't know enough about the process in Chicago to make an intelligent comment (I know, this has never stopped me before.).

However, I am surprised at the "youth" of some of the bishops. Is this a new trend? We just recently elected a 40 something bishop here in the Diocese of Olympia -- great, inclusive leader by all accounts. I guess as an Episcopalian neophyte, I assumed bishops would be "seasoned" and wrinkled. Ohe well, I guess they all will be in time.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I agree with susakay.

And, Maddy, I am delighted to say that God loves me way too much to call me to the episcopacy. It's not about my teeth - its about the fact that I can't keep my mouth shut - like Jeffrey is obviously doing. Smart man.

MadPriest said...

You see the beauty of my system is that it would completely get rid of the problem of people wondering if such and such a bishop was elected just because he was, white, black, straight, gay, etc. If the candidate with the best teeth (which would be decided by an independent panel of buddhist dentists) was always given the job then we would have all sorts of interesting (and, of course, less interesting) bishops. I think it should work for the fundies because we could say that as God created our teeth then he is, in a very literal way, choosing the bishop he wants. It fits so well in with the concept of the 3 pillars of Anglicanism - The Bible, Tradition and Cosmetic Dentistry (Reason having been ditched years ago).

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

What is it with you Brits and teeth?

Jim said...

Rev. Elizabeth,

Some thoughts:

1) I am sure Rev. Lind would have gotten a few more votes if B033 were not hanging over the proceedings. That ugly slap in the face simply has to go.

2) She would, I think, have lost anyway. Her comments at the public walkaround events turned people off who otherwise might have voted for her.

We layity look for the pastoral quality in the people we choose -- she was all about process and canon. That cost her moderate votes from those who care about keeping the conservatives in the diocise at the table.

3) My choice was Rev. Gould. She did well, but she ran into an unexpected buzz from an (at least I think unexpected) group.

Chicago has a large, active, wonderful, diverse set of vocational deacons. They voted as near as I can tell from conversation, nearly 100% for Fr. Lee. He has been a board member of their national association, they feel, with cause I think, that the salaried class ignores their ideas, and so they voted for a voice they hope will be raised for ministry.

4) Fr. Lee did not,"keep his mouth shut." In fact, he clearly said he is a 'full inclusion' person. Had he not, I think Rev. Jane would be our ordinary elect.

5) I heard two deans say, "It is Jeff or Jane" and I think they nailed the choice.

6) Yes, I think, under B033 (the shameful thing) it is impossible. Good people put themselves on the line anyway (Rev. Lind) but not all do. Good people are prepared to vote for the best candidate based on what is in their hearts, not their beds. Good people want to affirm the ministries of all, but the bullies have B033 (shame on the PB!) and we are where we are.

7) I think Fr. Lee would have won in a fair election. B033 assures us that we do not have fair elections. If 09 does not repeal that thing, and appologize for it, I for one will give up on the term of this PB. Her endorsement of that insult is the blot that obscures whatever good she may do.