By Mark Michael
Three new bishops, the Rt. Rev. Frank Logue, the Rt. Rev. Poulson Reed, and the Rt. Rev. Craig Loya were consecrated at small socially-distanced services in late May and early June. A petition candidate was added to the slate in the Diocese of Wyoming. The Diocese of Alabama received notice of sufficient consents for its bishop-elect, Rev. Glenda Curry, and the Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop of Upper South Carolina, announced his plans to retire by the end of 2021.
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, who had been the Diocese of Georgia’s longstanding canon to the ordinary, was consecrated as the XI Bishop of Georgia at Christ Church in Savannah on Saturday, May 30. The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, Logue’s longtime boss, served as chief consecrator, and was assisted the Rt. Rev. Rob Wright, Bishop of Atlanta; and the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry had previously announced a plan to delegate his normal role as chief consecrator in a series of services that had been previously scheduled during the COVID-19 crisis. The service broadcast included pre-recorded video and a live feed of the service.
The next day, May 31, Logue responded to the invitation of Savannah’s mayor, Van Johnson, and joined with dozens of clergy from across the city in a peaceful protest for racial justice, six days after the death of George Floyd. “Our faith in Jesus compels us to stand against evil, even as we seek to root out this evil implanted within us,” Logue said at the protest. “Until everyone has justice, none of us can truly be free.”
In a later interview with Episcopal News Service he spoke of his hopes for his episcopal ministry, “At our best it is bonds of affection which tie our church together. I look forward to the steady, patient work I see ahead of us. One thing I see most clearly is that if we remain focused on Jesus, rather than on the church, the Diocese of Georgia will not simply survive, but thrive and I love getting to be a part of that. We will get to see lives and communities transformed by the love of God. Who doesn’t want that?”
The Diocese of Oklahoma’s new bishop coadjutor, the Rt. Rev. Poulson Reed, was also consecrated on May 30 at a small live-streamed service broadcast from St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. The Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield of Arkansas served as chief consecrator for the service, and was assisted by Oklahoma’s fifth bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ed Konieczny, Bishop Jose McLoughlin of Western North Carolina, and the Rt. Rev. Peter Eaton of Southeast Florida. The service had been postponed from April 18, when a ceremony accommodating up to 4,000 congregants had been planned for a venue at Oklahoma City University.
Reed, who turned 50 a few days after the service, had served as the rector of All Saints Church, large parish in Phoenix, since 2009. The Virginia native had served at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver previously.
He recently told The Oklahoman that he was especially looking forward to working alongside Konieczny in the coming months, “My first most important mission at the moment is to listen and to learn,” he said, “leaving room for the Holy Spirit to inspire us,” Konieczny previously announced his intention to retire at the end of this year, when Reed will succeed him, becoming the VI Bishop of Oklahoma.
The Episcopal Church in Minnesota’s new bishop, the Rt. Rev. Craig Loya, was consecrated on June 6 at Minneapolis’ Saint Mark’s Cathedral, against the backdrop of 12 days of intense protests in response to George Floyd’s violent death at the hands of a city policeman.
The Rt. Rev. Scott Barker, Bishop of Nebraska, faced the issue squarely in his sermon at the consecration service: “These past two weeks, we have watched in dismay and horror as we witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd, and as this magnificent city – and countless others across the nation – have erupted in righteous fury because of the legacy of 400 years of ignorance, prejudice and brutality perpetrated by people who look like me, upon men and women of color,” Barker said. “We must own the fact that the Church has played its part in supporting systemic racism since its inception in this country, and so in contributing to all that sadness and all that rage that is now boiling over. We made peace with the empire long ago. And we are now paying the price.”
Barker added, “The 10th Bishop of Minnesota will begin his ministry as the future of the Episcopal Church arrives at our doorstep. Like a package from Amazon, the future has been dropped, unceremoniously, upon us, in a delivery hastened by a global pandemic and civil unrest the likes of which this country has not seen in over a half century… Welcome to the post-Christian world. On this episcopal ordination and consecration day, know the Church of the future will rise or fall on one thing and one thing only: the ability of this generation of believers to proclaim and to live an authentic, sincere and sacrificial Gospel, in which we follow the way of Christ, and Him crucified.”
The Rt. Rev. Brian Pryor, the IX Bishop of Minnesota, served as chief consecrator for the small but reverent service, which included the passing of the ornate, hand-carved crosier made for the diocese’s first bishop, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Whipple, who served from 1859-1901. Bishop Pryor was assisted by Bishop Barker and the Rt. Rev. Bruce Caldwell, resigned Bishop of Wyoming.
Loya had previously served as dean of Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, for seven years, and the canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas from 2009-2013.
The Rev. Mary Erickson, associate rector of St. John’s Church in Jackson, Wyoming has been nominated as a petition candidate in the election for the X Bishop of Wyoming, according to a June 9 announcement. A priest for ten years, Erickson has also served as the executive director of two community non-profits in Jackson.
The diocesan candidate profile describes Erickson as “a force for social justice and servant leadership who delivers pastoral care, spiritual growth workshops and women’s retreats.” She is also a Stephen Ministry trainer, spiritual director, and former hospice chaplain, with diverse parish experience.
Erickson has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated with a master’s of divinity from Harvard Divinity School, where she focused on economic and social ethics, and anti-racism and diversity training. She and her husband have two children.
Erickson joins two previously announced candidates on the Wyoming slate, the Rev. David Duprey and the Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler. The convention to elect a new bishop is scheduled for September 19.
The Diocese of Alabama was notified on May 18 by the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Registrar of General Convention, that a majority of bishops and standing committees have consented to the election of the Rev. Glenda Curry as their bishop coadjutor. The former rector of Birmingham’s All Saints’ Church, Curry will be the first woman to serve as Bishop of Alabama.
The consecration service is scheduled for June 27 at Birmingham’s Cathedral Church of the Advent. Curry will become XII Bishop of Alabama upon the retirement of the incumbent, Bishop Kee Sloan, later this year.
Upper South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, the VIII Bishop of Upper South Carolina, announced on June 6 that he will retire at the end of 2021, and called for the election of a successor. Waldo was consecrated in 2010. The diocese of 60 parishes will soon begin the discernment process that will eventually lead to the election of a new bishop, currently scheduled for September 25, 2020
In a pastoral letter to the diocese, Waldo reflected on important accomplishments of the past decade of common ministry. “We have learned much about how to be in deeper dialogue on difficult issues like same-sex blessings/marriage and racial reconciliation. We have built relationships to support public education through parish-school partnerships and advocacy. We have worked to create and live into norms of transparency and mature discipleship across the Diocese. We have changed the face of the college of clergy within the Diocese, now having the highest percentage of women in charge of congregations in the entire Episcopal Church.”
“We have learned much about being the Church during this pandemic,” he continued, “and yet we are just getting started in understanding — and are just now planting seeds for — a Church that will emerge energized, newly skilled in technology, freshly longing for in-person relationships, and even more deeply centered in and grounded upon the love of God in Christ Jesus.”