This Saturday, June 11th, 2022, at 3 pm at Trinity Cathedral, the Arizona chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians invites our whole diocese to hear the Right Rev. Shannon McVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont, preach at a Eucharist commemorating the birthday of the Right Rev. Barbara Harris, the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion.
It is an honor to welcome Bishop Shannon to Arizona. Prior to her election as the 11th Bishop of Vermont, Bishop Shannon served in the Dioceses of Indianapolis and Michigan. An experienced leader and community organizer, Bishop Shannon has held national leadership roles with Faith in Action, a national community organizing network, and has led Faith in Indiana and Act Indiana, partner organizations working on innovative, multi-faith solutions to statewide issues including immigration, mass incarceration, and access to healthcare and childcare.
Bishop Harris attended my first House of Bishops meeting in March of 2019. It was the 30th anniversary of her consecration as bishop, and towards the end of the evening when the women bishops gathered, I made one of the best decisions of my early episcopate: “Bishop Harris, may I bum a cigarette off you and spend some time with you?” Bishop Harris smoked a lot (I do not); but we sat on a balcony at Kaunga for an hour, smoking her menthol cigarettes and drinking Chardonnay, while she regaled me with stories of her priesthood and episcopate. They were powerful stories of discrimination and pain; and powerful stories of joy and blessing.
I have heard so many of you share your excitement at having me serve as your first female bishop; that would not have been possible without the witness of Bishop Harris. I pray that you will join us on Saturday in celebration of Bishop Harris, Bishop McVean-Brown, and all the women who have been called to serve as bishops.