Telling Our Stories

Bishop Lee Offers Pastoral Advice for Clergy in Time of Transition

As his retirement in August 2020 approaches, Bishop Lee has offered the diocese’s clergy some “pastoral advice” about putting forward new nominees for holy orders until a new bishop has taken office.

In Memoriam: Bishop James Montgomery, 1921-2019

Bishop James Montgomery, ninth bishop of Chicago, died on October 23 at home after a short illness. He was 98 years old.

"His resume could rival that of any bishop of the church," wrote Bishop Lee in announcing his death, "but those of us who knew Jim will remember best his deep faith and commitment to the sacramental life, and his clear-eyed love for the people of our diocese in the face of sweeping social change. Bishop Frank Griswold, his successor, told the Chicago Tribune in 1987 that Jim had led our diocese through 'probably its most difficult period in the history of the Episcopal Church—the ordination of women and the drastic revision in the liturgy … He was able by the sheer force of his personality to keep the diocese very much together.' He did so not by evading difficult issues, but by facing them with generosity and a deep pastoral heart. 'Never be so concerned with institutional success or economic security that you lose sight of the world in which we live,' he once wrote."

Application Process Now Open for Vitality Grants

Applications are now being accepted for vitality grants for 2020. Any congregation, regardless of parish or mission status, may apply for a grant, and applications are due on November 8.

Convention Speaker Innovates to "Liberate" Religious Rituals

Casper ter Kuile, a researcher and fellow at Harvard Divinity School, will give the keynote address at the Diocese of Chicago's annual convention in November.

Ter Kuile, who holds masters of divinity and public policy degrees from Harvard, is a co-founder of How We Gather, which describes itself as a “Millennial-led spiritual startup collaboration between Harvard Divinity School and the Fetzer Institute.” The project studies how people find meaning, connection and community in an increasingly secular world.

“What drew human beings to religion in the first place has not disappeared,” ter Kuile says. “The consistent yearning for meaning and purpose and connection and the joy of experiencing ritual or something bigger than yourself. All of these elements, marking stages of time and life journeys, all of that is still 100% relevant. And what our research has always focused on is, ‘well what are people doing to fulfill that and how can we help them do it better?’”

Despite his research on secular communities, ter Kuile, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his husband, Sean Lair, is far from finding organized religion irrelevant. Our traditions have great wisdom to offer, he says, in an age when “an undercurrent of stress and disconnection is having massive implications for our health and wellbeing.” He advocates innovating based on tradition to “liberate” religious rituals.

Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Training: January 23-25, 2020

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago requires antiracism training for people in elected and appointed leadership positions. It is also a requirement for congregational study guide facilitators for the Legacy of Slavery Report. The training is also open to anyone in the diocese who wants to help build a stronger multicultural community.

Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism, presented by Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (Chicago ROAR) and subsidized by the Antiracism Commission of the Diocese of Chicago, provides an in-depth look at race and racism in the United States.