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Jennifer Reddall elected 6th Bishop of Arizona

Jennifer Reddall elected 6th Bishop of Arizona

The Diocese of Arizona has announced the election of The Rev. Jennifer Anne Reddall as its 6th diocesan bishop.

Reddall is the second female diocesan elected in two days. The Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom was elected October 19 as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Kansas.

The press release from the Diocese of Arizona follows:

PRESS RELEASE: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona Elects VI Bishop

Phoenix, Arizona, October 20, 2018 – The Rev. Jennifer Anne Reddall was chosen VI Bishop of the Diocese of Arizona during the 58th Annual Diocesan Convention held at All Saints’ Episcopal Church & Day School in Phoenix.

The first woman to be elected bishop in the Diocese of Arizona, Reddall is currently the Rector of Church of the Epiphany in New York, NY, the Diocese of New York, and was one of three candidates.

In order to be elected, a candidate needed to receive a simple majority of votes from both the clergy and the lay delegates, voting separately as orders in the same balloting round. Reddall was elected on the first ballot, receiving 75 of 136 clergy votes and 172 of 304 lay votes.

The other two nominees were:

The Rev. Dr. Dena Marcel Cleaver-Bartholomew, Rector of Christ Church, Manlius, NY in the Diocese of Central New York

The Rev. Andrew Wallace Walter, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring, MD in the Diocese of Washington

Speaking with The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, who called to notify her of the election, Reddall said, “I am awed by your love and confidence in me, and praying deeply to the Holy Spirit to endow me with the gifts you need and deserve in a bishop. Thank you. Your ministry and your faithfulness in following Jesus’ call has inspired me, and the Diocese of Arizona is going to continue to inspire people all around your state as we share the Good News of Christ’s love through word and action together. My son Nathan and I are both so excited to move to Arizona and begin this new ministry with you.”

Reddall grew up in California, and after graduating from Yale University with a degree in Theater Studies, she joined the Episcopal Urban Intern Program in Los Angeles. She graduated from the General Theological Seminary in New York City with a Master of Divinity degree in 2002. Reddall’s parents moved to Tucson in 2016.

Pending consent of a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction and the diocesan standing committees, Reddall will be ordained and consecrated on March 9, 2019, at the Church of the Nations in Phoenix. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preside.

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The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona was established in 1959. The Diocese has 25,000 members in 12,500 households in more than 60 congregations, and is part of The Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Find us on the web at www.azdiocese.org, and on Facebook and Twitter @azdiocese.

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Timothy Fleck

I am curious about this statement in Bishop-Elect Reddall’s biography on the Diocese of Arizona website:

“Jennifer is in a long-term relationship with Paul Sheehan, who lives primarily in Hong Kong.”

Marshall Scott

To take a different tack from Fr. McQueen, it may also be an entirely chaste relationship. It can happen, certainly. It is so American of us (and, so, not either Progressive or Conservative) in these times that we assume physical intimacy in almost any long-term relationship. I’m not saying there isn’t here (and I imagine this was discussed in Arizona); but the brief statement quoted, Brother Fleck, doesn’t say that there is, either.

Timothy Fleck

I agree, Marshall, that there is no implication of physical intimacy; that’s why I framed my question in terms of curiosity. I wondered, though, why a candidate would include a statement about a “long-term relationship” in her bio if she were not presenting it as a sort of marriage-equivalent relationship. If that is the case, it gives me serious pause.

Fr. Will McQueen

So what’s the problem with this statement? If TEC doesn’t care about same-sex relationships why would fornication and an unmarried relationship be any kind of trouble whatsoever?

Timothy Fleck

Fr. McQueen, that is exactly the context from which I was questioning. I am an ordained person who has been in a same-sex relationship for 25 years; when same-sex marriage became legal in my state and blessed by our diocese, I believed it was incumbent on me to be legally and sacramentally married as soon as possible. I could not imagine that my bishop would countenance a priest living in an intimate relationship with an opposite-sex partner without the benefit of marriage, and it seemed to me that gay priests should be held to the same standard. If Bishop-Elect Reddall’s relationship with Mr. Sheehan is in fact physically or romantically intimate, which question is addressed by Mr. Scott below, I would be very troubled that a bishop of our church chose to maintain such a long-term relationship outside of marriage.

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