Thursday, October 22, 2009

Former Episcopal bishop of Ohio dies at 91 at his Michigan home

From Youngstown-

The Rev. John H. Burt, 91, retired bishop of Ohio for the Episcopal Church, died Tuesday at his home on the southern shore of Lake Superior.

The Rev. Mr. Burt served seven years at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown, where he received the Arvona Lynch Human Relations Award. He was also the founding president of the city’s American Civil Liberties Union.

When he left Youngstown in 1957 to become rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., The Vindicator wrote an editorial calling his departure “a matter of public regret” and saying the city was better for his having been here.

In 1967, he was elected the bishop of Ohio and served in that capacity until 1984.

In 1977, Mr. Burt and the Rev. James W. Malone, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, issued a plea for understanding and help for neighbors on reduction of operations at Youngstown Sheet & Tube.

In 1978, Mr. Burt co-founded the Ecumenical Coalition of the Mahoning Valley, which fought to keep Youngstown Sheet & Tube from reneging on labor agreements and to seek ways to reopen the mills.

Mr. Burt also was one of the first to advocate the ordination of women to the priesthood, saying he would resign as bishop if the Episcopal General Convention failed to approve women priests in 1976. Once the measure was approved, Mr. Burt ordained eight women as priests during his term as Ohio’s bishop.

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