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Presiding Bishop candidates profiles appearing in local papers

Presiding Bishop candidates profiles appearing in local papers

Photo by Peter Hvizdak for the New Haven Register

The Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, Bishop Diocesan of Connecticut, received a front page story in the New Haven Register on Sunday, as one of the candidates for the next Presiding Bishop. Especially in ‘unchurched’ New England, the amount of coverage is surprising, and suggests that this next election is important even to people who aren’t part of the Episcopal Church.

The Register profile covers Douglas’ focus on ministry at a time when Christendom is shrinking, and his acceptance and even cautious approval of the current decline, noting that not being the dominant culture is central to the theology and roots of Christianity.

Douglas notes that one of his largest changes, moving the Diocesan headquarters, was emblematic of the shift of Christianity to a humbler place.

From the article:

Douglas, 57, has been bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut for five years — Archbishop Desmond Tutu preached at his consecration — and one of the most visible actions he’s taken has been to move diocesan headquarters from “a mansion in the West End of Hartford to a former ball-bearing factory in Meriden,” a rented space called The Commons.

It has an open floor plan that Douglas designed and which he calls “iconic of the move that we in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut believe we need to make, from being a church that historically enjoyed some of the privileges and the power and the prestige of Christendom, of the establishment, to a place where we are much more called to be in the world and of the people.”

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop Diocesan of North Carolina, was profiled on Saturday in another secular paper, the North Carolina The News & Observer. The profile notes that Curry has a strong presence on social media, where he advocates for racial and gender equality, and works for social justice. In general, Curry sees radical hospitality as a call to minister to people on the margins. The article provides a more in-depth review of Curry and his ministry.

For The Living Church, the Rev. Tom Sramek profiled all four of the candidates. He provides a brief background and the theology of each of the candidates. The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith is stated to be a believer in evangelism, with a strong focus on the health of congregations.

The Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, his first profile, is described as an ecumenical leader who can navigate politics in order to find unity and places of agreement between otherwise polarized people. You can read his detailed profiles of all four bishops on The Living Church.

What are your impressions of the candidates? Have you seen other coverage in your local news on these four bishops?

Posted by David Streever


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John Snow

If a gang leader puts his hand on the coffin at a funeral of one of his gang members and says “we’ll see you soon, bro”, that may speak to the hopelessness the young man feels in this life, but it’s also a riveting statement of ultimate hope. I would love to hear Michael expand on his “this changed my ministry” statement. Was he unaware of the level of hopelessness that overwhelms so many young lives, or was he blown away that a belief in an afterlife can co-exist, seemingly unconnected?

Cynthia Katsarelis

GC was just Live Streamed and I caught a couple of rounds of questions and final remarks from the candidates. There’s nothing dreadful about any of them, so don’t take any criticism wrong.

Breidenthal blew me away. My guess is that he pissed people off, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for a leader to do that if it comes out of incredible conviction of heart and rock solid reasoning. His answer to whether we should divest from Israel was spectacular. I was on the fence. His response was that staying relationship is the only path to peace and suggested that we should be invested in both sides to be fully engaged. Asked what he would sacrifice for the church in the 21st Century, he named everything that people love, good music, old buildings, beautiful liturgy, and something else. He said often if you let it go, it comes back, but we have to be the Exodus.

Curry was interesting. He turned a sort of lame question about digital prayerbooks into the prophetic call to take what’s in there out to the streets. On what he would sacrifice to engage with the “Global South” his answer was superficial, unengaged. For one thing, he didn’t challenge the idea that the “Global South” was a monolithic culture single-mindedly holding conservative positions. He said the only sacrifice would be “time” and he was always willing to spend it to engage. I can’t believe that he is unknowledgeable, so I’ll guess that it isn’t a priority. In the final talk though, he made the point that needs making, as only he can do best. He buried a young man in Baltimore with his gang members for pall bears. At the end of the funeral the leader of the gang put his hand on the coffin and said “we’ll see you soon, bro.” +Michael said that changed his ministry when he realized this young man had no hope, and the Gospel is all about hope, and we need to bring that hope to “end this nightmare and bring about God’s Dream.”

+Ian was fine. Really has the technical bits down and did a good job of expressing how that all relates to the outer world.

+Dabney was fine. But just so, 1998. He was asked directly about LGBT inclusion (related to a 1976 statement). His answer was that we’re all children of God, included something about there being a variety of opinions ]and y’all know that I don’t like my life being called an opinion], and didn’t say anything at all about full inclusion, inclusive marriage, nothing on that. Dodged it. No question in that his answer was to love all people, but no sophistication that love actually does mean full inclusion.

I think that +Michael is the man of the hour if we want to tackle the vital issues of our day and make progress on racism. +Breidenthal is spectacular. +Ian is competent and seems to have inspirational moments. +Dabney, meh, he seems to be nice and all.

JC Fisher

“There’s nothing dreadful about any of them”

[I’m sorry, Cynthia, I can’t resist.]

“The Episcopal Church: There’s Nothing Dreadful About It!”


Curt Zimmerman

I haven’t found any of the candidates really energizing. I also recognize that the election is by the bishops – their votes will be determined on how they have experienced in the house of bishops. I think it’s been unfortunate that there have been ads on Episcopal Church web pages for Michael Curry’s new book – I have no issue with him. Just think it’s inappropriate giving any single candidate exposure that others don’t have.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Maybe the folks running the website should post links to the other candidates books and articles as well.

Steve White

Here’s one of +Brienthal’s book’s on Amazon:
Here is a speech he gave in Germany “The Body as Sacred Ground: A lecture delivered at Wittenberg University, Oct. 9, 2013”:

Ann Fontaine

The photo tells it all — Ian is a good leader – but more of the same.

Dan Rafferty

I think Bp Curry will surprise a whole bunch of people. His time will not be of the “ivory tower.” In fact I believe he would have gone to the killing fields and stood with the survivors of the modern day Christian martyrs. I’d bet that given the chance he would have stood the ground with the lady pouring milk on arson attempts in that store in Ferguson.

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