Announced by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia:
A historic moment in the lives of the dioceses of Virginia and Liverpool occurred today at Shrine Mont Retreat Center when the Rt. Rev. Susan Goff [bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia] was commissioned by Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia, and Paul Bayes, bishop of Liverpool, as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool. This exciting appointment, while noteworthy, is more than just in title. As one of her first roles as Assisting Bishop, Bishop Goff will be sharing in the ordination of priests with Bishop Bayes in June and speaking at the Diocese of Liverpool clergy conference in July. Both dioceses look forward to growing in relationship through this partnership. This appointment comes with the blessing of the Archbishop of York John Sentamu and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
From a 2012 article following Goff’s
election as bishop suffragan by the Episcopal News Service:
“For me, what the Kingdom of God is all about, the very visual image I have of it is of the heavenly banquet: men, women, children, people of all nationalities, languages, cultures, ages, genders, physical abilities, sexual orientations, the wealthy and the poor are gathered around the table,” Goff said in an article in the summer edition of the Virginia Episcopalian. “Since that’s what the Kingdom of God is, then that’s what the Church is called to be.
“For the Church to be doing the mission of Christ in the world,” she added, “we are therefore called to minister to and with a wider variety of people than ever before. We’re on the cusp of shifting from … ministry ‘to’ to ministry ‘with.’”
Goff was one of ten Episcopal bishops who met with Pope Francis at the Vatican last fall, and she wrote about the experience for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
He spoke of the profound relationship between the church and the family. “In the family we learn the bonds which unite us … even when difficulties abound. Indeed,” he said, “it is in the family that the most vulnerable of society are cared for.”
Then he challenged the church to examine the extent to which we are living as the family of God. He challenged us to make ourselves vulnerable in order to be family with the most vulnerable. With that invitation, the leader of what is arguably the most powerful church in the world made himself vulnerable to critics who disagree with him.
The pope made himself vulnerable too, by inviting our presence with him. We Episcopal bishops, seven women and three men, were seated on the platform in front of the first row of chairs, just to the right of the pope. We were dressed in purple cassocks, identifying us as bishops even from a distance. The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of Episcopal Church ordinations. Yet this pope chose to be seen in the company of Episcopal bishops, chose to speak with us publicly, chose to allow our photos to be taken with him. The Roman Catholic Church does not ordain women. Yet this pope chose to be seen in the company of women bishops, chose to speak and shake hands with us, chose to have his photo taken with us.
UPDATE: ACNS has Companion link sees US bishop take assisting role in Liverpool and ENS has Virginia Bishop Suffragan Susan Goff made assisting bishop of Liverpool in historic appointment.
UPDATE 2: Goff explains the appointment in this Facebook video.
Note: This story has been corrected to indicate that Bishop Goff was elected, not appointed, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Virginia.