Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Bishop Harris!

Here's your chance to say "thanks" to Bishop Harris on this TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of her ordination as the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion.


  1. Dear +Barbara,

    Here's the story I told in my sermon on Sunday at All Saints Church in Pasadena:

    Back in the early 90's when I was a seminarian doubting I'd ever make it through all there was to make it through, Barbara Harris – the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion whose election marked the end of the church as we know it for some and the beginning of the church as it would become for others – reached out across the table in the cocktail lounge at the Red Lion Inn and laid her hand on top of mine and looked into my eyes and said:

    “My dear, all you need to know is that the power behind you is greater than any of the challenges ahead of you. And when you’re kneeling on the floor of your cathedral and your bishop is putting his hands on your head and making you a priest in the Church of God, you remember that the power that brought you to that day will carry you through every challenge you will face and that there is nothing you and God can’t accomplish together.”

    And I felt like I’d already been ordained. In the cocktail lounge in the Red Lion Inn in Ontario, California. And when I actually was ordained – in 1996 – I could hear her words in my ears as clearly as if she’d been there in the church with us that day.

    Thank you, +Barbara -- for all you have done and all you WILL do to further the gospel, to challenge the church and to pastor the people. You rock!

  2. Thank you, Bishop Harris! You have offered so much hope to so many. I know that meeting you in Columbus Oh in 2006 was a highlight moment for me. You called me into acknowledging a personal responsibility; I continue to try to live into that. May you continue to let that light shine forth so that we all may be able to see just a little more clearly.
    As you are a blessing, may you be blessed.
    Barbi Click, just recently returned to St. Louis (DoMO) from a triumphant visit to the newly reconstituted Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth!!!

  3. Bishop Barbara,
    You have been a bishop to me for years when the bishops of my diocese were busy either denying you were a priest, much less a bishop, or were calling you the "final crisis," or both. Your pastoral care, humor and love got me through many days and nights of wondering why I even bothered to remain in a church whose local leaders made it so very clear people like me were unwelcome. Mutiply me by tens of hundreds and you may have some idea of how many people your ministry has touched. You are much loved in this church. You have called us all to be our best selves again and again. Thank you.

  4. Bishop Barbara,
    Can it have been 20 years? Yet in a way it was only last week! Thank God, things have changed in the Diocese of Fort Worth where I now make my home. Congratulations, and all good wishes. Plus: THANK YOU.
    Owanah Anderson

  5. Bishop Barbara,
    Thank you for being the first, which is both blessing and curse, both a hard road and a joyous one. Your faithful footsteps paved the way for many of us from other denominations to feel welcomed into not only the pews and the Eucharistic table but also into the hallowed halls of leadership and the council tables. Congratulations and wishes for happy days and happy memories.

  6. Dear +Barbara,

    The first time I ever met you, it was 1993, I was in college in the Philly area, and you were preaching at a special service at a parish in Germantown, PA. I had grown up in the Episcopal church, but was just discovering it "as it ought to be," as Susan put it. I'll never forget how exhilarating it was to begin to experience that incarnation of church in your presence.

    Fast forward nine years, and I'm sitting in your office at the diocese, you in your rocking chair, just before your retirement. I was a candidate for holy orders, had just come out to you as transgender, and had explained that I would be taking a year away to begin living into this newness of life. I'll never forget the wisdom and humor of your supportive response, and the feeling of you being a tremendous vehicle for that 'power behind us' that helps sustain us through the challenges that remain before us.

    Thank you, so much, +Barbara, and God bless you.

  7. The church had not yet recognized you as a bishop when you were bishop to me. It was my first General Convention as a Deputy. I had made a speech which provoked some angry men -- I sat down beside you in the gallery afterwards and you restored my courage.

  8. Dear Bishop Barbara,

    Congratulations to you on the 20th anniversary of your ordination as the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion. You have been an inspiration to many.

    Richard Taliaferro
    Trinity Episcopal Church
    Arlington, VA