Candidates

Candidates for 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan

Candidates appear in alphabetical order.

CANDIDATE INTRODUCTIONS

The Rev. Dr. Grace Burton-Edwards

Rector, St. Thomas, Columbus GA

The Rev. Canon Paula Clark

Canon to the Ordinary & Canon for Clergy Development, Multicultural Ministries and Justice, Diocese of Washington

The Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry

Rector, All Saints’, Chicago IL

The Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Colorado

The Rev. Dr. Grace Burton-Edwards

Rector, St. Thomas, Columbus GA

Greetings to the faithful people of the Diocese of Michigan. It is a holy privilege to share this journey with you.

When I meet with newcomers to my congregation, I often ask, “What is your story, and what brings you here now?” The goal is to reflect on how this moment connects with our larger experiences of God.

What is my story? Like all of you, I am on a lifelong journey to know the love of God revealed in Jesus and to share this love with others. My husband and I have been married for 28 years and are proud of our two adult sons. I have led different kinds of congregations to growth and vitality – small, transitional, and large; rural, industrial, and urban; varying liturgical practices; near the diocesan center and far away. Through global mission relationships, I have encountered the Church around the world and discovered how deeply we need one another. I serve on several diocesan committees, but I am most passionate about strengthening congregations, forming disciples of Jesus, and caring for congregational leaders.

What brings me here now? My calling is to help Episcopal congregations live out the way of Jesus in community-transforming ways. This is how I envision the work of a bishop. I am interested in the Diocese of Michigan because I find your values and goals a good match for mine – baptismal calling, lifelong discipleship, and the fifth promise of baptism. I love the Midwest – yes, even in winter. I believe we could work effectively and joyfully together.

In this time of discernment, as you are learning about me, know I am eager to learn about you. I will be listening for your stories, gifts, and callings. I trust the Holy Spirit will walk with us as we discern God’s will together.

The Rev. Canon Paula Clark

Canon to the Ordinary & Canon for Clergy Development, Multicultural Ministries and Justice, Diocese of Washington

I serve in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and was recently named Canon to the Ordinary. My primary responsibilities include serving as counsel to the bishop, parish transition ministry, strategic planning, and diocesan-wide justice initiatives. In 2013, I began diocesan staff ministry as Canon for Clergy Development, Multicultural Ministries and Justice. In this position, I had oversight and responsibility for the ordination processes to the priesthood and the diaconate, transitions and training of clergy, multiculturalism within parishes, as well as race and social justice diocesan initiatives.

Prior to serving on diocesan staff, I served as Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Beltsville, MD. At St. John’s, I expanded ministries to support lay leadership and program development. Also at St. John’s, a multicultural parish, I developed culturally responsive and creative liturgy for the growing parish.

Before ministry at St. John’s, I served as Assistant to the Rector at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, DC, where I managed Christian Education and Outreach Ministries, developed a Women’s Bible Study, revived Sunday School programs, and solidified a Food Pantry ministry between St. Patrick’s, and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Anacostia.

I am a 2004 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, was ordained to the diaconate in 2004, and the priesthood in 2005. I have a master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and an A.B. in Sociology from Brown University. I am a native Washingtonian, and a 1980 graduate of National Cathedral School for Girls.

In addition to parish and diocesan ministry, I bring 15 years of executive management experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

I am married to Andrew McLean, and have an adult daughter, Micha Green. I am matriarch of an extended family of four adult stepchildren and five step grandchildren.

The Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry

Rector, All Saints’, Chicago IL

Growing up, ours was a Marine family; I’ve lived in California, Hawaii, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and (thankfully) for the last 26 years, Chicago. Welcome and hospitality mean the world to me.

When I was 16, I attended a young people’s Cursillo. During that retreat I had a profound experience of being loved for who I was, as I was, in the person of Jesus Christ. My life has never been the same. This experience is the bedrock of my faith. The reality that Jesus loves me, and you, all of us completely and utterly, that is what fuels my passion for life and for the Gospel and for our church.

Attending the College of the Holy Cross, the Jesuits honed my critical thinking. After graduating I served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in West Oakland and Skid Row, Los Angeles.

Feeling called to ordained ministry, wrestling with being a Roman Catholic woman, I attended Union Theological Seminary. My middler year I met my spouse Susan Harlow. My senior year I was received into the Episcopal Church. I was sponsored for ordination by St. Mark’s, a vibrant a multi-racial congregation in Teaneck, NJ.

I served three churches in New Jersey: Christ Church, Hackensack, Christ Church, Ridgewood and St. Peter’s Clifton. In 1992 I made the best decision of my life and moved without a job to Chicago, to follow my spouse Susan who had just been offered a seminary faculty position.

In the last 26 years I have encouraged All Saints’, Chicago as it has changed and grown. Anti-racism work, young people’s formation, feeding our neighbors, Christmas pageants, world-wide LGBTQ rights, multiple capital campaigns, baptisms, burials, marriages and blessings, and hundreds of relationships have taught me that the stuff of church is deep, Holy work. God is good.

The Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Colorado

Dear Michigan Episcopalians,

Thank you for the gift of this journey with you.

My name is Ruth. My relationship with Jesus began when my mother knelt with me at bedtime to pray. And when I saw Miss Jo, my Sunday school teacher, behind the children’s altar, I got my first glimpse of priestly calling.

God’s call persisted; as a child, I kept a big brown notebook for sermon ideas.

In 29 years of ordained ministry, I’ve become passionate about and experienced in reconciliation and bridge-building. I’ve learned when we reach across our differences, we find unexpected common ground. My first instinct is pastoral; I listen closely, and I’m energized by being with people. Recently, I have worked with leaders across the country building the future church. This work thrills me.

I was raised in the Deep South alongside people who daily suffered the oppression of racism. My commitment to justice is fueled by fire that was kindled in me then. I understand that waking up to my unexamined white privilege will take a lifetime, and I am fiercely committed to the gospel work of dismantling racism.

I’ve fought alongside LGBTQ friends to create a world where everyone is seen and celebrated. I’ve pastored from the conviction that love is love. Period.

My family is my true north. Nathan and I fell in love at Swarthmore College. He grew up in a small Midwestern town; from him I learned that pop is not a sound but a drink. We have two sons, George, 23, and John, 20. The four of us talk late into the night sharing our hearts.

I grew up fishing with my father. Lakes feed my soul. Your state is filled with beauty; the people and the land make it so. I can’t wait to meet you.