New D.C. Episcopal Bishop Seeks to 'Build Up the Liberal Church'

The Rev. Mariann Budde, the newly consecrated and seated bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, wants to make a stronger voice for progressive Christians.

“I want to build up the liberal church again so we can be a legitimate conversation partner in the public arena religiously,” said Budde to the Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein.

Budde stated that she believed this “public arena” is presently “dominated by evangelical Christians and what many would call the Christian right, and I would agree.”

“It’s legitimate for them to be there, but they’re drowning us out,” said Budde.

In talking with the Washington Examiner, Budde spoke of supporting “full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in every aspect of the life of the church and of our society.”

“My guess is that in five to 10 years this issue would be behind us, I really do,” she told the Examiner.

Budde was elected by the Washington Diocese in June, having previously served as rector for St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis.

“The community of St John’s is delighted that Bishop Mariann has this new role,” said Kate MacKinnon, senior warden of St. John's Episcopal Church, in an interview with The Christian Post.

“We will miss her terribly, but [we] have known for some time that she was destined for work in the greater church. She will be an incredible asset to the Diocese of Washington D.C. as well as the wider Episcopal Church.”

MacKinnon said that as rector at St. John’s, Budde helped develop “a number of outreach, inclusion and social justice ministries.”

This included, according to MacKinnon, partnering with local organizations to help families in need, providing medical aid to Haiti and Guatemala, and incorporating youth in church services.

While the Diocese of Washington consecrates Budde, conservative Episcopalians, like the American Anglican Council, look on with concern.

Robert Lundy, communications officer for the AAC, took exception to Budde’s statement that she wants “to build up the liberal church.”

“What happened to building up Christ’s Church?” Lundy asked CP, adding that he considered the statement to be “ridiculous.”

Regarding how Budde becoming bishop would affect the AAC, Lundy said that “in a twisted way it’s going to help us.”

Lundy went on to explain that if Budde continues to advance the Episcopal Church’s “biblical revisionism” and say things like her remarks regarding the liberal church, it will serve to help differentiate between churches that are faithful to the Bible and churches that are not.

The Rev. Mariann Budde officially became bishop of the Washington Diocese on Saturday, making her the first woman to hold that position. The consecration of Budde as Bishop of the Diocese of Washington was the first event to take place at the National Cathedral since the East Coast earthquake on Aug. 23.

While the structure remains sound and the damaged stone has been removed, a complete restoration may not be completed until 2021.