Consecration Postponed: Message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

In a video recorded July 27th in Chicago, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry announced that the ordination and consecration of Bishop-elect Paula Clark has been postponed from August 28 to a date to be determined in consultation with the bishop-elect and her doctors.

Click here to watch the video on you tube.

"We continue to have every expectation that Bishop-elect Clark will make a recovery enabling her to serve as the bishop of Chicago," he said. "But we are not there yet. Please hear me when I say, we are not there yet !"

Bishop-elect Clark, seated with the Presiding Bishop and Anne B Jolly, president of the diocese's Standing Committee, also greeted the people of the diocese. " Of course I am really sad I can’t be your bishop right now. It would be my preference to start as your bishop right this instant, but as you can hear from me right now, there is a little way that we have to go in order to be at full-time capacity, " she said, referring to her speech, which is still partially impaired in the wake of a cerebral bleed she suffered in April . She is currently participating in a rigorous schedule of physical, occupational and speech therapy, Curry said, and her doctors report that her progress has been "remarkable."

"While my medical team was confident I could have gone forward on August 28, the Presiding Bishop, Anne Jolly and I feel it is best if I can be healed more at the time of the consecration, and able to begin work with you together," Clark said.

Curry plans to meet with the bishop-elect and her doctors in early October and, if necessary, every three months thereafter to assess her progress.

" I have two criteria for discerning when we will be ready to proceed," Curry said. "First, when our bishop-elect is able to take her place fully in the service of ordination and consecration both as bishop-elect, making her vows, leading us in the church’s profession of faith and receiving the laying on of hands, and then as the bishop, serving as the chief celebrant at the Holy Eucharist. Second, when she is also ready to assume the duties of bishop of the diocese, such as visitations with congregations, providing pastoral, programmatic and administrative oversight of ministry, certainly beginning at a reduced and planned level developed in consultation with the medical team."

The Standing Committee remains the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, Jolly said in the video. The group is in the final stages of securing an assisting bishop to serve the diocese beginning in the fall and expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks.

"The Standing Committee, I will tell you, are your biggest cheerleaders," Jolly told Clark. "We support you and pray for you and we have every expectation that you will make a full recovery and we look forward to the day that we can all serve together for this Diocese of Chicago we love so dearly."