Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bishop Barbara Harris: We gladly stand in gratitude

The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris yesterday celebrated the 20th anniversary of her ordination as a bishop, the first woman to be so ordained a bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate with her at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, and they were asked to stand if they felt their lives were different because of Bishop Harris. Everyone stood.

And if Lori and I had been there, we would have gladly stood.

We came into the Episcopal Church because of Barbara Harris, though it was years before we met her and got to tell her our story. In 1989, as Lori and I were planning to get married, we talked about finding a church to be our faith home. I had grown up in the Episcopal Church, and Lori in the Catholic Church. I felt disillusioned by the Episcopal Church as a young adult because it seemed so rigid and out-of-touch, and Lori felt much the same way about the church of her youth. 

One day, we picked up the newspaper and saw a photo and story about Bishop Harris' ordination as a bishop. It hit us both that we should give the Episcopal Church a chance, and it was Barbara Harris who brought us back.

We've met and spoken to her a few times since, and it was our honor and privilege to receive Communion from Bishop Harris at the Washington National Cathedral two years ago at the installation of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop. And Bishop Katharine was there yesterday in Boston. "Your grace and wit and humor have buoyed up this church," Katharine told her.

You can read the full story about yesterday's celebration in the Boston Herald HERE.

Blessings to you, Barbara, with gratitude from the bottom of our hearts.

Jim & Lori

Photo by The Boston Herald

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