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Bishop Barry Howe Our Episcopal Companion

The Order of the Ascension announced that Bishop Barry Howe will serve as its Episcopal Companion.

Bishop Howe was the VII Bishop of West Missouri from 1998 to 2011. He had served parishes in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, the Diocese of Central Florida, the Diocese of Massachusetts, and the Diocese of Southwest Florida. He is a graduate of Gettysburg College (1964) and Philadelphia Divinity School (1967).  His time at PDS overlapped with The Rev. Robert Gallagher, OA, the Order’s founder. Bishop Howe has a D. Min and a DD from Sewanee. He is the Chairperson of the Board of the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. He has served on the faculty of the College for Bishops for the past nine years. Bishop Howe and his wife, Mary, recently celebrated their fifty first wedding anniversary.

Michelle Heyne, OA, our Presiding Officer said, “We’re grateful to Bishop Howe and the important link to the broader Church his service among us represents.  I’ve valued my brief contact with him so far and look forward to his ongoing connection.”

The Order hasn’t had a Visitor since Roger White, of Milwaukee, served in that position during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. At our 2016 retreat and chapter we decided to reinstitute the office as part of our life. The Episcopal Companion will serve for a six-year term fulfilling the work of Episcopal Visitor as stated in the canons.

The Bishop Companion will visit with us during retreat and chapter every five years and spend a full day with us in worship, social life, and an exploration of the life and work of the Order. The Companion is welcome to be with us for that whole week or part of it and to participate in the retreat-chapter we have designed. The Episcopal Companion will also receive all yearly financial and Ascension Press reports and the minutes of chapter, and may also request any other documents that we have.  Each year the Companion and the Presiding Officer will have a conversation on the phone or in person about the life and work of the Order. The Companion may initiate conversation with any members during the year. With cause around a serious problem in our community life the Episcopal Companion may visit retreat and chapter in-between the normal five-year schedule.

Chapter struggled with the need for Episcopal oversight, the requirement that we have a visitor to apply for canonical recognition, and the reality that we have a limited amount of time together each year. We plan for Bishop Howe to be with us at retreat and chapter in 2018.