The top leadership of the Episcopal Church paid tribute Monday to a woman whose work has made her one of the most prominent voices in the governance of the church.

At their thrice-yearly meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, the Executive Council recognized the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg for 14 years as a prolific reporter for Episcopal News Service, the church’s online news source.

Schjonberg announced last month her intention to retire as senior editor and reporter as of July 1.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, told Executive Council that Schjonberg “has done more than anyone I know to help Episcopalians everywhere understand the ministry of church governance.”

Jennings presented Schjonberg with a House of Deputies Medal, an honor given for outstanding contributions to the Church.

Schjonberg worked for 20 years as a reporter and editor for a variety of secular publications before entering seminary at Church Divinity School of Pacific in 1997. After a few years in parish ministry, she joined ENS in 2005.

“I never thought I would be a reporter again after I was ordained,” Schjonberg said. Asked what she plans to do in retirement, she said in addition to spending more time with her long-time spouse Sharon Babb, she plans to do supply preaching, freelance writing and “remain open to the Holy Spirit’s call about what’s next.”

Kirk Petersen

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