First Black Female Episcopal Bishop Installed on Saturday
Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows replaces Right Reverend Catherine M. Waynick.
Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows was elected in 2016 at the diocesan convention to be the first female bishop[/tweetit] in Episcopal church history. The 50-year-old replaced Right Reverend Catherine M. Waynick when the latter retired. Her ascension ceremony was attended by 44 bishops who came from all over the United States. The city of Indianapolis hosted the convention.
First Black Female Episcopal Bishop Installed on Saturday[/tweetthis]
Burrows said she longed for belonging in the church community when she was a child. Her parents were not that religious and only when she was an adult she made up her mind to join the Episcopal church. She was baptized in 1989, a year after she graduated from college.
According to Burrows, a defining moment in her life was the September 11 attacks. She remembered fateful day well. She had gathered along with her church functionaries, including the future Archbishop Rowan Williams, inside a New York City Trinity Church when the twin towers were hit. She thought she would die when, along with her companions, took refuge on the stairwell of a parish house building. However, she found peace when she prayed. Burrows felt the presence of Jesus and felt no fear. Both she and her companions knew a communion of saints have surrounded them.
Burrows has, in a number of times, expressed her gratefulness towards the Episcopal Church. According to her, the church has taught her the world is beautiful and also has an unspeakable pain. She believes God loves all humans and his love has taught her to live in this world without fear.
— Stephanie Spellers (@SSpellers) April 29, 2017
Burrows' journey to her high position is an insightful one. At first sight, she is an unlikely candidate, being born and growing up in the projects. It is an irony the Indiana diocese she was given to lead has predominantly white parishioners. Her first contact with organized religion came when an English teacher during her eight-grade asked her to read a book titled Life with Father. The content of the book was comedy, and concerned a person whose wife was putting pressure on him to get baptized. While reading the book, she loved words and terms like catechism and Episcopal-all new knowledge to her. Years later, while being a Smith College student, she started to attend Episcopal services. She loved the incense-scented environment of the high church, the Lafayette Square located St. John's Church.