The third guest preacher and celebrant at St. Thomas’ Parish at Dupont Circle on January 23, 2011, as part of our series, “Voices of Wisdom – Radical Welcome,” is the Rt. Rev. Michael W. Creighton, Bishop Retired of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania (1996-2006). He is a 1968 graduate of Episcopal Theological School and served parishes in San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle before being elected Bishop of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania in 1996.
Bishop Mike, as he is affectionately known, is the son of The Rt. Rev. William Creighton, the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, DC from 1962-1977. While his father shepherded the Diocese of Washington through the turbulent period of Prayer Book Revision and the first ordinations of women to the priesthood, Bishop Mike arrived in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania the year that charges were dismissed, after years of controversy, against retired Bishop Walter Righter who had ordained the first partnered gay man to the Episcopal priesthood in the Diocese of Newark, the Rev. Barry Stopfel.
Bishop Mike later welcomed Barry as an instructor in the Diocesan School of Christian Studies, where Barry assisted Wayne Floyd in teaching lay courses on human sexuality. And Bishop Mike also invited Wayne to co-chair the Bishops Commission on Human Sexuality that laid the groundwork for laity and clergy throughout the diocese to engage together in respectful conversation and disagreement about issues of sexuality among people representing the whole spectrum of opinion.
Based on a growing consensus in the diocese in support of the full inclusion of gays and lesbians into the life of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Mike and the diocesan delegation from Central Pennsylvania courageously voted “yes” to consent to the election of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. And then Bishop Mike spent much of the final three years of his episcopacy providing strong and unswerving pastoral leadership with parishes and clergy who disagreed – sometimes quite ungraciously – with his decisions.
Bishop Mike is one of those inspirational “heroes” in the lives of me and Nancy Lee. Wayne served as Canon Theologian for the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania for six years under Bishop Mike, and Nancy Lee was ordained by him to the priesthood at the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen in Harrisburg, PA.
His clear sense of faithfulness to the traditions of the Episcopal Church has been combined with a generous-hearted pastoral sensitivity that has made Bishop Mike a quiet, yet deeply effective, leader in our church during difficult times. Without the leadership of bishops like Mike Creighton, and his father before him, we would be living in a very different Episcopal Church today. We owe him a debt of gratitude before he even arrives on our doorstep.
Bishop Mike and his wife Betty are living in Annapolis, MD, during their retirement. We are thrilled to have him with us to lend his own powerful voice of wisdom, and his example of the integrity of radical welcome, to Sunday worship at St. Thomas’ Parish.No comments