The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera, Bishop Suffragan of Olympia, is the best known name on the list, along with the Rev. Jeff Lee, successful rector (pastor) of the large St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina since 2000. The other nominees are Rev. Richard Burnett, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ohio; the Rev. Dr. Gregory Rickel, rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas; and the Rev. Angela Shepherd, rector of St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Diocese of Olympia has seen its troubles in recent years. More than 30 parishes have failed to meet their diocesan assessments. A pair of conservative congregations left the Episcopal Church after the installation in 2003 of a non-celibate gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as Bishop of New Hampshire. The diocese has stagnated in membership over the last 30 years, even as more than 1.5 million people have moved into Western Washington.
Outgoing Bishop Vincent Warner has raised eyebrows on several occasions. The bishop announced his divorce at the 2002 diocesan convention. Warner later delivered sermons criticizing his flock for the lack of compassion shown to his ex-wife, who became a Methodist. He broke into song, in an apparent attempt to channel Johnny Cash, at last year's Christmas Eve services at St. Mark's Cathedral.
The list of finalists includes three white men, and two minority women. Rivera is the first Hispanic woman bishop in the Episcopal Church. Shepherd is African-American.
None of the finalists is gay or lesbian. Two of the nominees - Rivera and Shepherd - have been divorced.
In picking a successor to Bishop Warner, the local diocese may be in for a barn burner of an election. All five nominees come from the progressive wing of the church, but have different backgrounds and qualifications.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Nominees for bishop named :: Seattle PI blog