Bishop Roundup: West Missouri, Chicago

By Kirk Petersen

Two Midwestern dioceses have named bishops to assume temporary roles.

Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce

In West Missouri, the Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce has accepted a nomination as bishop provisional for the 47 congregations in the diocese. Bruce has been bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles since 2010, and also serves as secretary of the House of Bishops and as a trustee of the Church Pension Group.

The nomination was made by the diocesan Standing Committee. Assuming she is approved in an up-or-down vote at the diocesan convention on November 6, where she is the only candidate, she “will serve full time, in residence in the diocese, for a period of two to three years, beginning in December 2021,” the Standing Committee announced. As bishop provisional, Bruce, 65, will be the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese until a bishop diocesan is elected and consecrated.

The Rt. Rev. Martin Scott Field, VIII Bishop of West Missouri, has served since 2011. Earlier this year he set September 14 as his last day in office. The Diocese of West Missouri, based in Kansas City, was founded in 1889, and shares the state with the St. Louis-based Diocese of Missouri.

Bishop Chilton Knudsen

In Chicago, the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen has been named assisting bishop, and will support the Standing Committee and Bishop-Elect Paula Clark as Clark continues to recover from a cerebral bleed.

Knudsen, 74, retired as the VIII Bishop of Maine in 2008 after serving for a decade. She subsequently served as an interim or assisting bishop in several dioceses, including Lexington, New York, Long Island, Maryland, and Washington. Before becoming a bishop, she served two churches in the Diocese of Chicago in the 1980s.

“Bishop Chilton will maintain her residence in Maryland while spending the majority of each month in Chicago,” the diocese announced. “While she serves with us, the Standing Committee will remain the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese. In the fall, we will have more news to share about her ministry and how we will welcome her back to our diocese.

Knudsen’s three-year tenure as assisting bishop in the Diocese of Maryland began in late 2015, in the wake of Heather Cook’s resignation as bishop suffragan after a fatal drunk-driving accident. Knudsen is an alcoholic in recovery, and the co-author of two books about recovering from alcoholism.


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