Monday, February 5, 2007

Draft Taylor for bishop

The Very Rev. Robert Taylor is a humble person, a devout man of God, and cherished local treasure. We cannot afford to lose him to another diocese, which I feel is bound to happen, probably at a far distant point (once the Episcopal Church, as a whole, decides to look at the qualifications of bishop candidates and not their sexual orientation).

Since 1999, Taylor has served as the Dean of the 75-year-old Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Originally from South Africa, he came to the U.S. in 1980 after suffering harassment and threats of violence for his anti-apartheid activities.

In addition to his duties as dean, he is a member of the board of trustees for the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He also serves on an advisory board for the Seattle Art Museum and was the original Chair of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County.

Last year, the Episcopal Church voted to place a moratorium on candidates for bishop whose “manner of life” would further strain its relationship with the Anglican Communion of which it is a member.

If Taylor wasn’t Gay, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the list of bishop candidates of a half dozen diocese around the country. Fortunately, the Diocese of California had the fortitude last May to include him among their top list of seven finalists for bishop.

Currently, the Diocese of Olympia, which includes an area of Western Washington from Vancouver, Washington, to Blaine, has nominated their finalists. Two Washingtonians, a Texan, an Ohioan, and a Marylander have been nominated as finalists.

I do not wish to question the qualifications of the candidates, nor compare their backgrounds. Nor do I believe I am at all qualified – being a Lutheran – to suggest Taylor be added to that list of finalists. However, this is an opportunity for the Episcopalians of our state to – at least – nominate a man who has walked his talk, loved with his whole heart and has a record of proven leadership that spans the globe.

At its convention last fall, the Diocese of Olympia adopted a resolution saying that no persons should be denied consideration for ecclesiastical office due to his or her sexual orientation. None of the candidates are openly Gay or Lesbian, so the addition of Taylor would be a good opportunity to show their sincerity.

Additional candidates can be nominated by petition until February 26th.

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