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History in the Making

In 1959 the Rt. Rev. Donald J. Campbell resigned after ten years as suffragan bishop in Los Angeles to accept a position at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For a bishop to resign from normative episcopal responsibilities in a diocese and venture into a different area of ministry was a new experience for most Episcopalians. It was discussed widely throughout the church. Bishop Campbell wanted to continue as a member of the House of Bishops. In 1959 the Rt. Rev. Donald J. Campbell resigned after ten years as suffragan bishop in Los Angeles to accept a position at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For a bishop to resign from normative episcopal responsibilities in a diocese and venture into a different area of ministry was a new experience for most Episcopalians. It was discussed widely throughout the church. Bishop Campbell wanted to continue as a member of the House of Bishops.

“The question is not whether Don Campbell keeps his seat in this house,” he argued, “but whether or not the members of this house will be able to learn with me from this new ministry I am about to begin.” But Donald Campbell had to give up his seat in the House of Bishops. Many agree Bishop Campbell had an effective ministry at the seminary. But it was not until the General Convention in 1967 that resigned bishops were given seat, voice but no vote in the House of Bishops.

Almost 60 years later it is not so surprising when a bishop moves from episcopal ministry in a diocese to serve at a theological seminary. Such a move puts some new decisions before the bishop, the seminary and the diocese. It allows all three to look at prior years in a new light, see new possibilities developing and to rethink mission, needs and priorities for the days ahead.

The Episcopal Church has changed in some ways since 1959. It continues to change today. More transition lies ahead. Someday people will read about us as we now read about Bishop Donald Campbell. We will have become history. We can hope that among those who replace us will be some as bold in their day as Bishop Campbell was in his. +

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Category: #Communications, #Sundays

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