The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry is the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan (EDOMI). She was consecrated as bishop on February 8, 2020 — a position that oversees a diocese that consists of 77 congregations in the southeastern region of Michigan. EDOMI comprises over 16,000 baptized members in the Detroit metropolitan area and adjacent regions that stretch as far west as Lansing, Jackson, and Hillsdale. Prior to her election as bishop, Perry spent 27 years as rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Chicago, one of the largest and the most active congregations in the Diocese of Chicago.
Bishop Perry serves with a passion for congregational vitality within the diocese, and an emphasis on all communities of faith to be relevant and engage with their neighborhoods.
“You don’t have a thriving community of faith if you’re not involved in the issues of the day,” Bishop Perry says.
Recognized as a leader in the movement toward sensible and safe gun culture, Perry was elected a co-convener of Bishop’s United Against Gun Violence and has since helped lead several responses to gun violence in Michigan. Perry is working to bridge divides in race and the secular world by launching a Spirituality and Race initiative throughout the diocese that includes education and conversation surrounding racial justice, reparations, and reconciliation. In addition, her expression of ministry also gives focus for equality in voting rights and LGBTQ+ full inclusion worldwide.
Bonnie Anne Perry was born in San Diego, California. As the daughter of a career Marine officer, she has lived in Hawaii, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduation, she served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in West Oakland and Skid Row, Los Angeles.
Feeling called to ordained ministry and wrestling with being a Roman Catholic woman, she followed her call to ministry by matriculating at Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she met her spouse, Susan Harlow. In her final year in seminary, Perry was received into the Episcopal Church. In addition to her Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, Perry also has a Doctor of Ministry (specializing in Congregational Development) from Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
Following her ordination as deacon and then as priest in 1990 in the Diocese of Newark, Perry served three churches in New Jersey: Christ Church, Hackensack, Christ Church, Ridgewood, and St. Peter’s Clifton. In 1992, she moved to Chicago to follow her spouse, who had accepted a seminary faculty position.
Bishop Perry is an internationally recognized sea kayak coach and guide, holding top coaching and guiding credentials in both the British Canoe Union (BCU) and the American Canoe Association (ACA). Perry coaches and guides regularly around the world, Baja, Mexico, the Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, the west coast of Scotland, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, as well as New Zealand and Canada.
Perry resides in Detroit with her wife, The Rev. Dr. M. Susan Harlow, a United Church of Christ pastor. They have an Australian Shepherd named Tali, a long-haired miniature dachshund named Owen, and have a weakness for taking in aging cats.