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Bishop’s Crosses Awarded to the Revs. Brenda Husson and Susan Copley; Chancellor George Wade Made Canon of the Diocese

Citations:
George Wade
The Rev. Susan Copley

Brenda Gail Husson

Brenda has carried a visionary understanding of the possibilities of the Christian church and the gospel life from the beginning.  Her studies in Third World Development and her early work with Bread for the World led to theological studies at Union Seminary and ordination into the Episcopal Church, and a ministry which has been lived entirely within this diocese.  After her first priestly ministries in parishes in and around New York City, Brenda came almost two and a half decades ago to Saint James Church on Madison Avenue in New York, a landmark parish of extraordinary distinction across the Episcopal Church.

Her ministry at Saint James has been built around her understanding of the urgency and possibilities of the first experience of the Christian community by a willing seeker, and of the questions people wrestle with.  She has made Saint James Church a vibrant center of Christian formation, a standard for excellence in preaching, and a wellspring of spiritual resource.  Saint James is one of our largest churches, but it is also one of the most innovative.  Here disciples are made for Jesus Christ, the invitation to discover the Christian life is explicitly made, and new priests are formed and mentored for the whole church.

Brenda was the first woman priest called to lead what we sometimes call a “cardinal parish” of the substantial leadership resources of a Saint James anywhere across the Episcopal Church.  She is in the earliest generation of women leaders in the Episcopal Church, and soon will be the senior rector in Manhattan.  Hers is a record of brilliant accomplishment, of sterling leadership, and of far-reaching vision, as she has invested the deep resources of her community in the shaping of an institution rooted always in excellence.  But at heart, the Brenda I am privileged to know is a simple Bible Christian.  A disciple of Jesus Christ.

Reflecting on her early formation as a priest in New York, she remembered “a real understanding of the necessity to invite people in and begin from where they are … trusting that if people have come in, they are seeking God and that is enough to start.  I also gained an ability to talk about spiritual subjects in ways that freed people to ask the questions they needed to ask and that invited them into faith.”  Therefore, in recognition and gratitude for her confidence that the church is the Kingdom of Heaven, and her dedication to building that kingdom out of the living stones she has been given, offered to the glory of God, we, on this 9th day of November 2019, in the eighth year of our consecration, do award her

The Bishop’s Cross

The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche

XVI Bishop of New York

 

Susan Kay Copley

The Reverend Susan Copley began her adult professional life as a pediatric oncology nurse at Sloan-Kettering Hospital.  There, ministering to children with cancer, she experienced first-hand the living presence of God in the midst of pain and suffering, as well as in the unexpected joys of lives lived even in overwhelming circumstances.  Her nurse’s heart for people in sometimes desperate need led her into the formative chapter of her life in ministry, as she left for the life of a missionary pediatric nurse in Liberia.  Arriving in the second year of that country’s terrible civil war, she took up her work among a people ravaged by war and starvation.  For three years she engaged a population so traumatized that even small children used the dolls she gave them to reenact the scenes of public executions and war-time brutality which was the whole experience of their young lives.

But it was also there that she met and married David, a missionary nurse and aid worker from England.  They reflected that it was the long-suffering and loving people of Liberia who taught them “what is possible when we seek to be in relationship with God and one another before all else…. even in the midst of conflict and pain, the grace of God is revealed and justice flows from that grace like an ever-flowing stream.”

Mission work in Liberia was followed by mission work in Bolivia, and ultimately to theological studies and ordination in the Episcopal Church.  But they remain exemplars among us of the miracles and wonders of the mission field.  David is the Director of Mission Personnel for the Episcopal Church.  Megan, their daughter born out of the strife and graces of the mission field, is a Young Adult Service Corps intern in Guatemala.  And Susan, as the Rector of Christ Church in Tarrytown, has married congregational life and local outreach to the wider global mission network of this diocese, and to the ministry of Cristosal in El Salvador among displaced persons.

“As missionaries,” Susan wrote, “we were privileged to be representatives of the whole Episcopal Church … to remind others that they are cared for and to remind our church in America that we are connected to a wider communion of people.  When we share this love, this connectedness, we also raise the banner of justice…  We are all brothers and sisters under God.”  Therefore, in recognition and gratitude for her witness to the dignity of every human being, and the love of God for all people through our Lord Jesus Christ, we, on this 9th day of November 2019, in the eighth year of our consecration, do award her

The Bishop’s Cross

The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche

XVI Bishop of New York

George Joseph Wade

Counselor, Advisor, Advocate, Educator and Reconciler

Chancellor of the Diocese of New York

Blessed by grace,

Respected by peers,

Beloved friend;

Man of prayer, peace, humor, truth and charity.

In Recognition of the Notable Servanthood of

our Brother George

as Chancellor and Confidant of

the Fourteenth through Sixteenth Bishops of New York

and Friend and Advisor to Two Hundred Churches

We do confer on this the 9th day of November

in the year of Our Lord 2019

in the Eighth Year of Our Consecration

the Perpetual Honor of

Canon of the Diocese of New York

The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche XVI Bishop of New York