From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: Diocese of Massachusetts elects another Harris as suffragan bishop

Date Sat, 1 Jun 2002 18:22:00 -0400

June 1, 2002


Episcopalians: Diocese of Massachusetts elects another Harris 
as suffragan bishop

By James Solheim

(ENS) The Diocese of Massachusetts elected a suffragan bishop 
today who just happens to be a black woman with the name of 
Harris, repeating the historic election of Barbara Harris as a 
suffragan in 1988, the first woman elected a bishop in the 
Anglican Communion.

The Rev. Gayle Harris, currently rector of St. Luke and St. 
Simon Cyrene Church in Rochester, New York, was elected on the 
second ballot by a simple majority of clergy and lay delegates 
to a special diocesan convention June 1 at Boston's Cathedral 
Church of St. Paul. The election was greeted with sustained 
cheering in the packed cathedral.

Harris will serve with Bishop M. Thomas Shaw SSJE, the 
diocesan bishop, and Suffragan Bishop Roy (Bud) Cedarholm. "The 
election of Gayle Harris at this time in our history makes an 
important statement about our continuing commitment to an 
inclusive ministry of advocacy and spiritual presence," said 
Shaw. "Her skills as a parish priest and church leader will 
enrich our ministry in eastern Massachusetts."

A 21-member nominating committee announced the final slate of 
candidates in February, following a process that gathered 92 

During his speech nominating Harris, Mr. Howard Webber, a 
member of the Diocesan Council, said that Harris "brings a large 
tapestry of capabilities. Inclusion and reconciliation are the 
hallmarks of her ministry, and her experience in an urban 
setting is broad and deep. She is a deeply human and even 
amusing person."

If she receives consents from a majority of the diocesan 
standing committees and the bishops of the church, a 
consecration liturgy is scheduled for January 18, 2003.

Harris, who is 52, has been an adjunct professor at Colgate 
Rochester Seminary where she taught a course on the life and 
mission of contemporary Anglican parishes. Before taking the 
parish position in Rochester she was priest-in-charge of Holy 
Communion Church in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Church 
Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley and is a former 
trustee and president of the school's alumni council. She was a 
member and president of the standing committee in the Diocese of 
Washington and has been a deputy to the last two General 
Conventions. She and her husband, the Rev. Peter Peters, have 
three adult children and one grandchild.


--James Solheim is director of Episcopal News Service. This 
report is based on a news release from the Diocese of 
Massachusetts. For more information see the web site at

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