Saturday, June 27, 2015

A new PB

(I forgot, many of the folks who read these musings and ponderings are not Episcopalian, like me, and don't understand "Episco-Speak". "PB" means the Presiding Bishop--the titular head and major spokesperson for all things Episcopalian. And a new one was elected today.)

It seems to me that this has been a week full of historic moments: taking down the Confederate flag in places you wouldn't have imagined that happening; two Supreme court rulings on health care and same-sex marriage; and now the first Black Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Michael Curry is the Bishop of North Carolina, a sprawling diocese that takes up the central part of that state and most of the population centers. He is also the most dynamic and exciting voice in the church. He talks about 'making disciples', something most Episcopal Bishops never utter. He preached at the Diocesan Convention in CT last year and brought the house down!

My own bishop, Ian Douglas, was one of the other three nominees. I would have been happy for him had he been elected, but, in a selfish way, didn't want to lose him. He is a visionary of the 'future church' and has a profound commitment to the church being about "God's mission" rather than the mission of keeping failing churches open. His ideas would have added much to the National Church's agenda, but I'm not so secretly pleased that he'll still be bringing his vision to Connecticut.

At St. Paul's in New Haven, the second of the three congregations I served full-time, one of the members was The Rt. Rev. John Burgess, former Bishop of Massachusetts, and, at the time he was elected, the first Black Diocesan bishop. There had been several African-Americans elected to roles as assisting bishops, but John was the first to be 'in charge' of a diocese of the church.

He was a wonderful and compassionate man. I'm only sorry he didn't live until today so he could have known another barrier had been breached. An African-American Presiding Bishop of a church founded in England and transplanted here and never particularly concerned about attracting minority members. My life in the church has been counter-cultural. The first congregation I served was a historically Black church and the other two were fully integrated and the third included a vibrant Hispanic congregation.

For me, this year has been good: the first Latino Poet Laureate  and the first Black PB!

Even in this time that seems, on the surface, too conservative for my taste, some amazing things are happening to soothe my Left-Wing Soul....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.