Tuesday, August 4, 2009

First Hispanic female Episcopal bishop retiring

From Seattle-

The first Hispanic woman to serve as a bishop in the Episcopal Church is retiring from the Seattle-based Diocese of Olympia, talking of how she has "loved" being here but hinting at difficulties with the man who beat her in an election for diocesan bishop.

The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera, the suffragen (assisting) bishop, said that she and Diocesan Bishop Greg Rickel share the same goals, but are going down "different roads." In recent months, Rivera has spent one-third of her time doing double duty as interim Bishop of Eastern Oregon.

"I feel for the first time in my life that I am behind the times, slow on the uptake and out of synch with the future: I think I am part of the old order here," Rivera said in a letter released on the diocesan website.

Rivera was elected in May of 2004, and assumed Diocese of Olympia duties four months later. In 2007 she was one of five candidates for diocesan bishop, placing third as Rickel was elected. Rickel had served as rector of a large congregation in Austin, Texas.

The retirement of Rivera comes less than a month after the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The convention ended an informal moratorium on election of gay or lesbian bishops in the church.

Already, in the past two weeks, a lesbian priest in a longstanding relationship has been picked as one of three finalists for Bishop of Minnesota.

As well, a gay priest and a lesbian priest are among six candidates to fill two jobs as assisting bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

"I affirm each and every one of these candidates and I am pleased with the wide diversity they offer this diocese," the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno. Bishop of Los Angeles, said in a statement quoted by the New York Times.

The Diocese of Olympia has been outspokenly in support of full inclusion of gays and lesbians in all church rule.

Earlier this year, Rickel welcomed a visit by the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire and the first open, non-celibate gay to serve as a bishop in the church. Until his resignation last year, a gay man, the Rev. Robert Taylor, was dean of St. Mark's Cathedral.

Rickel came back from General Convention facing a six-figure deficit in the Diocese of Olympia budget. He is faced with possibly cutting staff at the diocesan headquarters atop Capitol Hill.

More here-


1 comment:

Celinda Scott said...

Correction: the convention did not "end an informal moratorium," according to TEC official comment. This must be an example of media-not-caught-up.