UPDATED: Rise in Glory Dr. Pamela Chinnis

(Updated with statements)

Pamela%20Chinnis.jpgDr. Pamela Chinnis, 30th President of the House of Deputies, died last evening (the 24th) at 6:31 p.m. Dr. Chinnis, a lay person, was the first woman to serve as President of the HOD. She is remembered for her many achievements, writings and service to this Church she loved so much.

Current House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, the second woman to lead the approximately 880-member house, said in a statement that Chinnis "...has given me courage when the going has been rough, and I will miss being able to hear her distinctive voice speaking truth with humor and wisdom....She also was a champion of including the voices of all the baptized in the governance system she cherished and helped to lead."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said "we give thanks for the ground-breaking ministry of Dr. Chinnis as president of the House of Deputies, and give thanks for her life. We hold her and her family in our prayers in this time of grief and thanksgiving for a life well lived. May she rest in peace and rise in glory, and may all who mourn find comfort in the assurance of resurrection."

(from statement released by Episcopal News Service)

From IntegrityUSA

“Dr. Chinnis’ proactive advocacy for LGBT inclusion literally changed the face of The Episcopal Church,” said Integrity President the Reverend Dr. Caro Hall.

“In 1993, as the church looked toward its 1994 General Convention in Indianapolis, Dr. Chinnis became the first President of the House of Deputies to address an Integrity gathering. At that historic meeting she promised to appoint “out” gay and lesbian deputies to legislative committees at the upcoming convention and pledged personal vigilance for "the whole issue of gay and lesbian rights," speaking, she said, "as the mother of a gay son."

Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. May she rest in eternal peace.

Comments (3)

An amazing leader and trail blazer for womens' and lay folks' ministry. She and Ed Browning demonstrated how effective and blessed truly shared leadership between clergy and lay can be. Pam Chinnis made a lasting contribution to the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church.

May she rest in peace, and rise in glory!

JC Fisher

Learning of Dr. Chinnis’ passing brought back the memory of her address to the Integrity National Convention in 1993. She related the story of a young gay man, who faced discrimination as he worked to establish himself in the legal profession. As a law clerk, he worked for a Supreme Court justice, doing research on the Bowers vs. Hardwick case that came before the court in the mid-1980s. He then encountered retribution from the GLBT community, as his employer had voted to uphold the sodomy law in Georgia. While we continued our dinner cruise along the picturesque San Diego coast, she said I know this young man quite well, as this young man is my son.”

There were several audible gasps from those in attendance, then the tears started to flow.

Eighteen years later, I find myself living in the greater Washington area, where Pam Chinnis spent so many years of her life. I also take great pride in being a parishioner at Church of the Epiphany in Washington, the place where Pam started her journey as a trailblazer in the Church. It will be my hope and prayer that her efforts at justice and equality will be an inspiration for many years to come.

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