It’s been a busy few days in the world of bishops.
Last Saturday, two dioceses elected new bishops.
Northern California elected the Reverend Canon Megan M. Traquair. She is currently the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Arizona and will be the first female bishop in northern California. Traquair is a native Californian, raised in in Santa Barbara and graduating from Pomona College. She did her seminary work, earning an MDiv, at Seabury-Western. In a statement on the diocesan website, she said;
“It is with joy and gratitude that I accept your call to serve as the Eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, Philip and I are excited to make our home with you in Northern California. This summer, by the grace of God, we will begin to practice the Jesus Movement together — in faith, reconciliation and service.”
Over in Maine, the Rev. Thomas James Brown was elected. Brown is the third openly gay person (and the first married gay man) to be elected bishop in the Episcopal Church. Brown is currently the rector at Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts, where he has served for the past ten years. Prior to that, he served nine years as rector at St. Michael Episcopal Church in Brattleboro, Vermont, and was the director of alumni and church relations at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, which is where he earned his MDiv. In his address to the convention he said;
“During the walkabouts it was so clear to me that the church in Maine is living the good news of Jesus Christ. I am humbled and overjoyed to accept the invitation to join the people of Maine as their bishop. “
“I give God thanks and praise for this call, and the opportunity to continue building the church in Maine on Christ the solid rock. Bishop Lane and his family, along with the diocesan staff, and every congregation are in my prayers as they continue in the holy work of transition. To God be the glory.”
Also on Saturday, the bishop of Alabama, the Right Rev Kee Sloan called for the election of a Bishop Coadjutor, as he intends to retire at the end of 2020. In a statement on the diocesan website he wrote;
“I have loved being your bishop, and I still do. I’m not mad at anybody, I haven’t lost my faith, I’m not quitting in a huff, and I’m not being run out of town. It’s just time. By the end of 2020, I will be 65 years old and will have been ordained for over 39 years, 13 as a bishop. By the end of 2020, I will have been married to Tina my sweet and patient wife for 33 years, and we want to have some time for travel and new adventures.
The world is changing quickly, and the Church will either change with it or become a museum. I find myself more and more thinking in terms of The Way We’ve Always Done It, and I have loved the Episcopal Church too much for too long to get in the way now. As I say in the address, “Change looked more fun when I was one of the young priests, leaning into the new Prayer Book, supporting the ordination of women.””
Today, from Europe comes news that their newly elected bishop, The Rev. Mark D. W. Edington, has received the necessary consents for his consecration. Edington was elected Bishop on October 20. Presiding Bishop Curry will officiate at his April 6 ordination and consecration service at the cathedral in Paris. When elected he was Rector, Saint John’s Church, Newtonville, Massachusetts, and Director, Amherst College Press.
“Peter’s leadership marks an opportunity for the city, the diocese, the regions, for church and society to move forward together,” Archbishop Philip Richardson said in his opening remarks.
“After all, we are a people of resurrection, and our song is hallelujah.”
The Archbishop opened the service at Christchurch Boy’s High School auditorium with a welcome to Bishop-elect Peter’s family, friends and wellwishers from across the province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and around his diocese, which takes in Canterbury, Westland and the Chatham Islands.
Archbishop Don Tamihere reflected he had seen a ‘quiet joy’ during the day, and a willingness to work together with the new bishop coming from all sides, across diocese and city, family and tikanga.
“There’s a sense of hope, of positivity for the future.” he said.
The Diocese of Christchurch was battered by thousands of earthquakes following the two huge shocks in 2010 and 2011, and the iconic Anglican Cathedral of city and diocese is still standing in ruins.
At 3pm on the day of Bishop Peter’s ordination, banner-carrying Anglicans came from the four winds into Cathedral Square at the heart of their diocese to install their new bishop in sight of the damaged cathedral he has pledged to see restored.