- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 26, 2002

A dark horse candidate won the post for eighth Episcopal bishop of Washington yesterday on the second ballot, easily besting a field of five other priests.
The Very Rev. John B. Chane, 57, dean of St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego, was notified of his victory just before 8 a.m. Pacific time by the Rev. Thomas Andrews, president of the Washington diocesan standing committee.
"I asked him: 'Will you be our bishop?'" Mr. Andrews said. "He said, 'Oh, my God.' He said it several times. And then he said, 'Yes.'"
The news brought a standing ovation from the 326 clergy and lay delegates gathered at the Washington Cathedral for its annual diocesan convention. On Thursday night, Mr. Chane emerged as a clear leader when he gathered 78 clergy and 78 lay votes during the first ballot, only a few votes shy of the simple majority needed.
The tally yesterday of 108 clergy votes and 95 lay votes put him clearly on the top. The Rev. Harold T. Lewis of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh came in second with 46 clergy votes and 61 lay votes. The Rev. Mark Anschutz of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Dallas was third with 4 clergy votes and 12 lay votes.
According to St. Paul's Cathedral staff, Mr. Chane and his wife, Karen, were on their way to the San Diego airport less than two hours after being notified. He will address diocesan delegates this morning at the cathedral. His consecration date is June 1.
Several observers said yesterday that even though Mr. Chane was not well-known in the diocese, his comportment during a series of forums Jan. 9-12 convinced them he would be a capable bishop.
"He listened very closely to what folks were saying to him and he didn't equivocate," Mr. Andrews said. "There were no games. He had clearly thought through things."
Barbara Miles, another standing committee member, said Mr. Chane struck her as "very genuine" and "very comfortable in his skin."
"He was speaking from his heart and his experience," she said. "This diocese needs someone who is comfortable standing on a national stage."
The Rev. John McDuffie, a standing committee member who pastors Christ Episcopal Church in Rockville, said Mr. Chane had clearly done his homework on items such as the diocesan budget, congregational life and ministry.
"He spoke with great directness and clarity about issues in the diocese," Mr McDuffie said. "He was a very frank and honest person. We need a strong leader in this diocese."
David Bickel, president of the American Anglican Council of Washington (AACW), a conservative group, made it clear Mr. Chane was not the group's first choice as bishop, but deferred comment until AACW representatives could meet with the bishop-elect.
"I hope he will emphasize unity and pastoral care to those who look to the General Convention for church teaching," he said. One of the red flags to conservatives was an incident a year ago at St. Paul's Cathedral when Mr. Chane invited retired Newark Bishop John Spong to speak. Then the Rt. Rev. Gethin Hughes, bishop of San Diego, insisted Bishop Spong, who denies the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and many other biblical texts, not speak from any pulpit in his diocese.
Mr. Chane struck back in a sermon on why Mr. Spong, and not he, should be the one in the pulpit.
"I really found it regrettable that fear would motivate a decision to keep someone from not preaching here because their point of view might not be a generally acceptable point of view, either theologically or biblically," Mr. Chane told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I think it sets a terrible precedent."
People have the right to hear differing points of view, he told the newspaper.
"I don't think we can function as a cathedral if we are in a position where we have to censure people," he said.

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