Bishop, prophetic preacher, prayerful, reflective leader “who is a lot of fun to work with.” As the ninth bishop and first woman to lead the Diocese of Washington, you have been a strong voice on social justice issues such as gun violence, immigration, marriage equality and racial justice. You have combined those concerns with your passion for congregational vitality—not only church growth, but also strengthening parishes for ministry in their neighborhoods and empowering them for lively and engaging worship.
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester, New York, you went on to earn master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary. You were ordained priest in 1989, then served Trinity Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio before you were called to be rector of St. John’s, Minneapolis where you served for 18 years.
Since your consecration and installation in 2011, congregational development and renewal have been a focus of your episcopacy and of the diocesan staff under your leadership. You are a collaborator and a mentor connecting clergy to each other for support and for strengthening the mission of the church.
In spite of a full and busy schedule, you are known for your commitment to prayer and bible study in your meetings. One priest in your diocese says, “People love Bishop Mariann. Clergy love her because she’s present with them when they need her for pastoral issues or brainstorming ideas about their congregation. Parishioners love her because they connect with her through her weekly blog posts, which are relevant to everyone’s spiritual life.”
Christian hospitality characterizes your ministry and your family whether is it welcoming a Muslim prayer service in a Christian worship space in your diocese or inviting a person into your home because she needs a place to go. You believe that Christianity can be strong and kind.
In celebration of your ministry among us today and in recognition of your outstanding leadership shared with the greater Church, we are honored to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.
May 12, 2015 Austin, Texas