Thursday, January 06, 2011

Requiescat Bishop Paul Egertson (ECLA)

Sad news just received from our bishops' office -- the passing of our friend, Bishop Paul Egertson.

"The Diocese of Los Angeles, together with the wider Church, joins in remembering a beloved friend and colleague, retired Bishop Paul Egertson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who died suddenly yesterday afternoon at his home in Thousand Oaks, California.

We pray for his wife, Shirley, their six sons, and all the Egertson family, as well as Bishop Dean Nelson and the people of the Southwest California Synod. Funeral arrangements are pending, and services will be announced as soon as further information is available.

Bishop Egertson led the ELCA's Glendale-based Southwest California Synod from 1995 to 2001. An active and esteemed partner in ministry, he shared deeply in ecumenical and interfaith collaboration -- and together with the Bishops of this Diocese, he joined in shaping a vibrant local expression of the full communion between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church.

Full communion between the two denominations was inaugurated 10 years ago today, January 6, 2001, the Feast of the Epiphany, with a widely attended service in Washington National Cathedral.

Bishop Egertson was a regular participant in the life of this Diocese and will be greatly missed. He was a caring pastor, a compelling professor at California Lutheran University, and a tireless advocate for peace and justice, especially the civil rights of LGBT sisters and brothers in the Church and beyond.

Bishop Egertson's bold, prophetic leadership was instrumental in changes of policy enacted by the ELCA General Assembly in 2009 by adoption of the statement "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust." The Assembly also passed a resolution that changes be made to churchwide policy documents to make it possible for people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders in the ELCA.

Locally this summer, the LGBT ministries of the Synod and this Diocese came together for a street Eucharist in West Hollywood. Bishop Egertson was celebrant, and Bishop Glasspool preached. We could not have known then it was one of the last times we would see our beloved brother bishop.

Paul Egertson was born in 1935. In 1955 he earned a B.A. degree from Pepperdine University, and subsequently received a master's degree in theology from Luther Seminary and a doctorate from the Claremont School of Theology. He served as a pastory in several congregations in addition to his academic work.

Together with Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce and Bishop Mary Glasspool, and with the retired Bishops of this Diocese, please join me in prayers of thanksgiving for the life, ministry and continuing legacy of Bishop Paul Egertson.

Rest eternal grant your servant Paul, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.

Your brother in Christ,

+J. Jon Bruno

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