Robert King writes for The Indianapolis Star about the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, now newly consecrated as Bishop of Indianapolis:
As a black woman who grew up in the projects, Baskerville-Burrows might seem an unlikely person to lead an Indiana diocese where the vast majority of the parishioners are white. But her journey to this point is insightful.
An eighth-grade English teacher asked young Jennifer Baskerville and her classmates to read “Life With Father,” a comedy about a man whose wife was pressuring him to be baptized. A bookish girl with a love of words, she was captivated by terms such as Episcopal and catechism, even though her family was infrequent churchgoers. Four years later, on a high school trip to Washington, D.C., she and other students were given the chance to visit a church of their choice on Sunday morning. She chose the Episcopal option, and headed to St. John’s Church in Lafayette Square, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents.” In the midst of the service, Baskerville-Burrows had her own epiphany.
“I remember, as clear as day like as you are sitting here, hearing God say: ‘You are home.’”
The next fall, while a student at Smith College, she began attending Episcopal services and became enamored with the incense-scented trappings of high church — the “smells and bells,” as she says — and she never looked back.
Image of Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows by Megan McConnell/Episcopal News Service