In an election that took six ballots and included a dinner break, the diocese elected Rev. Canon Gretchen M. Rehberg as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane. As we reported earlier, the slate included four candidates; The Rev. Canon Lucinda Ashby, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Idaho; The Rev. Canon Neysa Ellgren Shepley, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Oregon; The Ven. Christopher Athan Pappas, archdeacon for congregational development, Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, Canada and Canon Rehberg who is Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity, Lewiston, Idaho and Canon for Regional Mission.
Rehberg was the leading candidate among both lay and clergy from the first ballot, but it took an additional five ballots and the withdrawal of one candidate (Pappas) before she achieved the majorities required.
In response to her successful election, Canon Rehberg said; “I am incredibly humbled and honored to be elected Bishop of our diocese. Only one person is elected bishop, but the work is all of ours. I am thankful for the leadership of Bishop Waggoner and the love that he has for all of us. I look forward to building on what we have to move forward into the future. I am convinced that with the diocese working together in partnership with God and one another we can take the next faithful step forward in following Jesus, in loving God and loving our neighbor and in being creative and compelling witnesses to Jesus Christ here in the Diocese of Spokane. Thank you for your trust in me. I am humbled by it, and look forward to working with all of you in the days and years to come.”
According to the diocesan website, Rehberg will be starting the work of bishop-elect in February, and pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church, will be ordained and consecrated as bishop in March 2017 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane.