Comments: Bishop of Indianapolis: Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows elected

While heartily congratulating Baskerville-Burrows, Indianapolis, and the Episcopal Church: there are already black women serving as diocesan bishops in the Anglican Church (Swaziland), and this is the second time a woman has been succeeded by a woman (Edmonton).

Posted by Peter S at Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 8:45pm GMT

What a wonderful provenance for a diocesan bishop:

"The Episcopal Church is where I found my relationship with Jesus some 30 years ago, “she said. “It teaches me that the world is filled with incredible beauty and unspeakable pain and that God is deeply in the midst of it all loving us fiercely. So each day, nourished by the sacraments and stories of our faith, the beauty of our liturgical tradition, the wide embrace of this Christian community, I learn over and over again how to live without fear.”

Why can't all bishops aspire to this vocation?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 9:31pm GMT

'This election also marks the first time that [a] woman diocesan bishop is succeeded by another woman…'

In TEC, maybe, but not worldwide. In our Diocese of Edmonton Bishop Jane Alexander succeeded Bishop Victoria Matthews in 2008.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 9:43pm GMT

Now that's how you write the press release for a new bishop. Jennifer sounds excellent.

Posted by Kate at Sunday, 30 October 2016 at 10:29pm GMT

Mazel Tov and Blessings!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 5:11am GMT

Thank you for the corrections, I will amend the article accordingly.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 9:01am GMT

I am not sure that the article needed amending; the Episcopal Cafe piece appears to be speaking of this as a first in TEC ("the church") -- not in the Anglican Communion, which, let us remember, is not a Church! In any case it is good to know of the situation across the Communion. Congratulations to the Bishop-elect and to the Diocese of Indianapolis!

Posted by Mary Clara at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 4:29pm GMT

What's really interesting is that this appointment means TEC has appointed three women as diocesans in the last three months (DeDe Duncan-Probe, Central New York; Gretchen Rehberg, Spokane; Baskerville-Burrows, Indianapolis). This will take TEC from four female diocesans in 2016 (Washington DC, El Camino Real, Indianapolis, Central Pennsylvania) to six female diocesans in 2017.

The self-examination of the House of Bishops a year ago in relation to the declining number of female diocesans and the still very low proportion of bishops who are women has clearly had results. In all three elections, half or more of the nominees were women, so the nomination process has been of crucial importance in this result.

Meanwhile Canada has also appointed three female bishops in three months, with relatively little fanfare as a gender-inclusive episcopate becomes "business as usual". Canada will move from five female diocesans in 2016 to six in 2017 (Edmonton, New Westminster, Mishamikoweesh, Montreal, Huron, Algoma).

England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand each have two female diocesans, and Ireland, Cuba, South India have one.

That makes (pending further appointments) for 23 women as diocesan bishops and 23 as assistant bishops in 2017. Add 11 women who have retired, 3 who have died, and 1 who was defrocked, for a total of 61.

Posted by Peter S at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 5:25pm GMT

@Peter S, all the more interesting as all three were elected in convention (we may sometimes call them "appointments" this side of the pond, but all are determined by election within the diocese to be led). We have had a significantly higher percentage of women nominated than in previous history, but none was elected from a list that was only women. Each of these women was elected by a different set of convention delegates (both clergy and lay), and each convention had to decide separately who the Spirit wanted in that diocese.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 8:33pm GMT

Mary Clara, you will have to forgive those of us who are not American for being a little sensitive to the tendency of the USA to speak as if it is the world ('The World Series' etc.). Certainly when I see the words 'the church', the first thing I think of is something a little bigger than a national denomination.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 10:19pm GMT

Thanks Marshall. Your points about the different electorates is significant, I agree. Here in Australia - the other side of the *other* pond - every diocese has a different method and sometimes I wonder if this is a wondrous diversity, or madness! I haven't got exact figures but it seems that TEC still has a significantly smaller proportion of women among its bishops than Canada, Australia, Aotearoa - NZ, and even England, and I still find that curious given TEC's leadership on this issue for over forty years.

Posted by Peter S at Monday, 31 October 2016 at 11:41pm GMT

"She is from New York, ordained by the Diocese of Central New York, and a graduate of Smith College, Cornell University, and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She has expertise in historic preservation and a passion for issues including gun violence, social justice, and racial and class reconciliation. She also maintains a strong focus in guiding others through the practice of spiritual direction.

"One of the defining experiences of her ministry came when she found herself near the World Trade Center the morning of September 11, 2001. In the midst of a fearful situation, her own faith and the faith of others who sought shelter alongside her gave her a renewed perspective of faith vanquishing fear."

I can't help being struck by the caliber of this--and the many other--female bishops and bishops-elect in the American church.. In particular one can't help extrapolating that she is an intellectual with interests reflecting a keen, engaged mind.

I can't help also reflecting on the difference in bishops appointed in the C of E: over and over again, new English bishops' chief interests seem to be the like of gardening, walking in the country side and playing with their dogs.

I've noted this so many times in the last few years that I can't help wondering if the C of E deliberately screens out candidates with too much passion, too much learning, and personal interests likely to result in boat-rocking.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Tuesday, 1 November 2016 at 12:53pm GMT

Peter S, you may be correct about the percentage. My rough count right now is that we currently have ten elected (bishops diocesan, coadjutor, suffragan, provisional, or bishop-elect). We also have a number who were elected, now retired, and hired as Assistant Bishop (so, accountable to the diocesan and not continuing beyond the diocesan's tenure). Again, by rough count that's less than 10% of bishops with cure. I can't speak to the other national churches.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 1 November 2016 at 3:30pm GMT

The number of TEC women bishops seems to be a regular question on this site. Determining their number is surprising difficult. My count is 22, of whom 9 are or were diocesans, one of whom also became presiding bishop and primate. My count is below.

In addition, I am aware of three women elected as diocesans but not yet consecrated - DeDe Duncan-Probe, Central New York; Gretchen Rehberg, Spokane; Baskerville-Burrows, Indianapolis. If duly consescrated, this would result in 25 women bishops, 12 of whom are or were diocesans.

Barbara C. Harris, Massachusetts (Suffragan); then Washington (Assistant)

Jane Dixon, Washington (Suffragan)

Mary Adelia McLeod, Vermont (Diocesan)

Catherine S. Roskam, New York (Suffragan)

Geralyn Wolf, Rhode Island (Diocesan), then Long Island (Assistant)

Carolyn Tanner Irish, Utah (Diocesan)

Catherine Waynick, Indianapolis (Diocesan)

Chilton R. Knudsen, Maine (Diocesan), then Maryland (Assistant)

Katharine Jefferts Schori, Nevada (Diocesan), then Presiding Bishop and Primate

Carol Gallagher, Southern Virginia (Suffragan), then Newark (Assistant), then Montana (Assistant)

Gayle Harris, Massachusetts (Suffragan)

Nedi Rivera, Olympia (Suffragan), then Eastern Oregon (Provisional)

Dena Harrison, Texas (Suffragan)

Laura J. Ahrens, Connecticut (Suffragan)

Mary Gray-Reeves, El Camino Real (Diocesan)

Diane Jardine Bruce, Los Angeles (Suffragan)

Mary Glasspool, Los Angeles (Suffragan), then New York (Assistant)

Mariann Budde, Washington (Diocesan)

Susan Ellyn Goff, Virginia (Suffragan)

Anne Hodges-Copple, North Carolina (Suffragan)

Heather Cook, Maryland (Suffragan) (deposed)

Audrey Scanlan, Central Pennsylvania (Diocesan)

Posted by dr.primrose at Tuesday, 1 November 2016 at 11:00pm GMT

I can confirm your count is correct for TEC.

Posted by Peter S at Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 7:23am GMT

"I can't help also reflecting on the difference in bishops appointed in the C of E: over and over again, new English bishops' chief interests seem to be the like of gardening, walking in the country side and playing with their dogs."

CofE likes bishops with pastoral interests. A bishop with an interest in social justice or, forfend, an intellectual, could raise all sorts of troubling issues.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 8:32am GMT

Daniel Berry, I think it's almost certainly a "pond difference" as much as anything else. To the UK public, a statement like that might be seen as bragging and self-promotion. It makes people suspicious and gets CVs filed in the bin (not just for bishops, but more generally).

Too much polish, too much "passion", any suggestion of intellectualism is the quickest way to turn off the public over here. It's actually probably better, if not even advisable, to hide any lights under bushels of gardening or walking.


Posted by primroseleague at Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 9:05am GMT

'A bishop with an interest in social justice or, forfend, an intellectual, could raise all sorts of troubling issues'

My brother worked for Tearfund for over fifteen years, in donor relations. During that time he worked closely with many Church of England parishes, and a number of dioceses and bishops. I can confirm from my conversations with him that there have been a good number of C of E bishops with an interest in social justice.

What the C of E has really disliked until very recently is bishops who have an interest in evangelism.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 2:23pm GMT

"I can confirm from my conversations with him that there have been a good number of C of E bishops with an interest in social justice"

If that was the case then the bishops seated in the House of Lords would be making a lot of noise about social justice. After all, the number of bishops in the House of Lords is bigger than the representation of many small political parties yet they get their agendas across more vocally than the bishops do.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 3 November 2016 at 12:32pm GMT

Peter S.
Your count of female diocesans in Canada missed the Territory of the People (formerly Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior formerly Cariboo), which was restored to diocesan status in 2015. (Previously, Barbara Andrews had been considered a suffragan to the metropolitan of British Columbia and the Yukon).

With the pending consecration in Algoma, in 2017 the Canadian church will have 7 (out of 29) female diocesans, plus 2 suffragans, for a total of 9 women in the 40-member HoB.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Saturday, 5 November 2016 at 1:12am GMT
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