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From Columbus: Anderson looks forward to expanded role at convention

By Pat McCaughan
6/14/2006

Bonnie Anderson, newly elected president of the House of Deputies.  

 
[Episcopal News Service]  For Bonnie Anderson, being elected president of the House of Deputies comes at a time of tremendous opportunity.

"I'm really excited about working with the Church in this new way," says the deputy from Michigan who was unanimously elected Wednesday morning. 

Anderson is a six-term deputy to Convention and is currently serving as vice president of the Deputies. The three-year of her new office begins "when the gavel goes down on this convention June 21," Anderson said during an interview shortly after her election June 14.

With 35 years as an active layperson in the Episcopal Church, Anderson, 63, is no stranger to controversy or hard work. She feels uniquely called to this particular role at this time, considering it simply "a little bit of a change of venue."

"The ministry is the same. The particulars around the ministry will change and the intensity of it will change, but what I feel called to do won't change. The big venue is the Church and the reconciling mission of God's work in the world."
 
Anderson, who wrote a resolution (D115) at the 71st General Convention, granting seat and voice to the official youth presence, said she hopes to begin with hearing and learning from constituencies in the church.

She received an enthusiastic standing ovation during introductions in the House of Bishops. "It's great to be here," she told bishops and, indicating her husband Glen, daughter Devon and son Justin, said, "These are the three people in the church who thought that the election just held in the House of Deputies was ‘the' election at this convention."

Of the "other" election she has high hopes, "I'm very much looking forward to engaging in conversation with the new presiding bishop and with other constituencies in the church."

Her first order of business will be to, along with the newly elected presiding bishop, review the memberships in the committees, commissions and agencies and boards of the church.

"My big hope is that the new P.B. and I can work closely together, and have a collaborative and growing relationship because we can do some really good things together," said Anderson.
 
She added, "I'm very pleased to be George's successor," referring to Dean George Werner, two-term president of the Deputies. "He has done some great work to move the House of Deputies toward a new place."

Born in Santa Ana, California, Anderson started her lay ministry as a parish youth leader. She has also served as chair of the Program, Budget and Finance committee and a host of other appointments — all part of the "ordained ministry of the baptized," said Anderson, the second woman to hold the post. The first was Pamela Chinnis.

"Every time we're called to a new way of service, it changes us, and ministry changes because we meet new people in ministry with us and new experiences and other people teach us things and we learn from each other," she said.

"It just so happens that this is where I've been led and where I find myself in this point of time.

"This is a time of tremendous opportunity. We have an atmosphere of change about us. We are engulfed in, swimming in, breathing in, living in an atmosphere of change and to me, change is opportunity. We are embodying that change and we can use it to do the work we are being called to do."