The Presiding Bishop's Office has announced today that the Bishop-Elect Daniel Hayden Martins of Springfield and Bishop-Elect Michael Pierce Milliken of Western Kansas have received the necessary consents from bishops and standing committees and will indeed become bishops of Springfield and Western Kansas.
Every election of a bishop is a mixed blessing, both for the bishop elect and for the diocese and, I might add for their family and friends. In both these elections there have been those who have cautioned that consent to election ought not be given. In Springfield because Bishop elect Martins played a significant role in the life of the Diocese of San Joaquin as a large part of its clergy and laity followed Bishop Schofield out of The Episcopal Church. In Western Kansas questions were raised about the intent of the bishop elect not to cease being rector of a parish, a departure from recent modeling of the episcopate in The Episcopal Church. In both cases there was some thought that these candidates would be rejected by a supposedly entrenched and stiff majority party (or parties) in the Church who would block consent. It seems to me these consents speak to a somewhat wider range of ecclesial and theological attitudes than might have otherwise been imagined. I'm glad, for if there is room for them there continues to be room for many of us who may not from time to time match the ideal check list.
Well, God bless them both. They received consents. Now they will have to live with the reality that is about to take place. Although I can be as crabby as the next Episcopalian about the actual work of particular bishops I am deeply committed to supporting the office. When friend Ian became bishop last year I remarked that, well Bishop Ian was a funny sort of first name, but he was now Bishop Ian to me, not perhaps my bishop (thank you I have one in Delaware) but in some wider sense indeed my bishop.
Let us pray for both Bishop Daniel and Bishop Michael, and for all those who take on this particular and peculiar ministry among us.