Friday, July 11, 2008

Magic Valley clergy named Idaho’s Bishop-elect

Express Staff Writer

The Episcopal Diocese of Idaho Convention to Elect the next Bishop of Idaho elected the Rev. Brian Thom, of the Church of the Ascension, in Twin Falls, after six ballots, on June 28. The Episcopal Diocese of Idaho has about 7,000 members covering the state from McCall and Salmon south to the Idaho border.

Thom will replace the Right Rev. Harry Bainbridge III, who is suffering from cancer. Bainbridge said he would retire after serving as bishop of the Idaho Diocese for a decade, when a successor was consecrated.

A tentative consecration date of Oct. 11 was announced with the service to be held at St. Michael's Cathedral in Boise.

A native of Oregon, Thom, 52, has been at Ascension for 17 years. Previously he served as curate at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in Portland from 1987 to '89, and as assistant rector at St. Margaret's, in Palm Desert, Calif. from 1989 to '91.

In Twin Falls, Thom has been the president of the Magic Valley Interfaith Association, a member of the Twin Falls Kiwanis Club, a past board member of Planned Parenthood of Idaho and for five years served on the school district's Substance Abuse Advisory Council.

Thom, who believes in inclusion in the Episcopal Church, supported the election of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, as the church's first openly gay bishop. The issue of same-sex unions and gay clergy has threatened to split the 400-year-old Anglican Church internationally. The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

"Relationship is key to him," Rev. Ken Brannon, of St. Thomas in Sun Valley said. "He's spent a lot of time building relationships with clergy and lay people. He takes seriously the ministry of the baptized. In other words baptized Christians are empowered to act in God's name. A good leader will help equip all people for ministry. That's a unique skill. He doesn't impose from on top but raises up that which is emerging."

Thom will need consent by majority of bishops to be officially ordained as bishop of Idaho.

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