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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Episcopal Diocese of Northern California consecrates coadjutor


The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner was consecrated September 30 as the coadjutor of the Diocese of Northern California.   

[Episcopal News Service]  The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner was consecrated September 30 as the coadjutor of the Diocese of Northern California.

Beisner, 55, will become the seventh bishop of Northern California when Bishop Jerry Lamb, 66, retires in January.

The consecration took place at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, California.

Idaho Bishop Harry Bainbridge, as president of Province VIII, was the chief consecrator.

Co-consecrators, in addition to Lamb, included Honduras Bishop Lloyd Allen, Los Angeles retired Bishop Frederick Borsch, Rhode Island retired Bishop George Hunt III and Nevada Bishop and Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Episcopal bishops who participated in the service were Marc Andrus of California, J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, Bruce Caldwell of Wyoming, Sergio Carranza of Los Angeles, Philip Duncan II of the Central Gulf Coast, William Gregg of Eastern Oregon, Johncy Itty of Oregon, Don Johnson of West Tennessee, W. Michie Klusmeyer of West Virginia, James Mathes of San Diego, Mark MacDonald of Alaska, Sylvestre Romero-Palma of El Camino Real, Chester Talton of Los Angeles, and James Waggoner Jr. of Spokane.

Ecumenical and interfaith ministers attending the service included Bishop Richard Joseph Garcia, auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento; Imam M.A. Aziz; Sally Hinchman, associate synod executive and general presbyter for ministry, Sierra Mission Partnership, Presbyterian Church (USA); Bishop David G. Mullen of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); Pastor Rick Schlosser, Clearlake Oaks Community United Methodist Church; and Bishop Beverly J. Shamana of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Beisner was elected on May 6. In June, his election received the consent of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, as is required of all elections that occur within 120 days of Convention. Elections that occur outside that time period require the consent of a majority of the church's diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction.

Beisner served parishes in the dioceses of Northern California, California and Southern Ohio before becoming canon to the ordinary in Northern California in 2002. He is a frequent facilitator for vestry planning retreats, clergy retreats and mutual ministry reviews. He has taught a parish leadership course at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned a master of divinity degree from CDSP and is nearing completion of a doctor of ministry degree there. Beisner also has a master of sacred theology degree from General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 1979.

One priest objected during the consecration service to Beisner’s election as bishop. The Rev. James Wilson, former rector in Anderson, asked if he could read his objection aloud. Bainbridge asked to see what he intended to read and then asked Wilson to accompany him off the dais with other bishop "counselors." Bainbridge returned and said that Wilson had offered two unnamed objections.

"It is our intention to move ahead," he said. "We are people who practice mercy and believe in God's grace."

Questions arose after Beisner's election and during the General Convention consent process because he has been divorced twice and is married for a third time. Some members of convention opposed his election, saying his marital history disqualified him from the office of bishop. Beisner is married to the Rev. L. Ann Hallisey, national coordinator of Fresh Start, a program of the Church Deployment Office. They have six grown children from their previous marriages.