First, delegates chose the Rev. Patricia A. Davenport for the office of bishop in Southeastern Pennsylvania, a synod that includes Philadelphia. Then on Sunday, delegates voted for the Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld, a pastor in Beloit, Wis., to become bishop-elect for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin.
The votes mark an inclusive step forward for the “most white” of the nation’s mainline Protestant denominations, according to Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.
“We claim, over and over again, what God is calling us to be is a diverse, inclusive, multicultural church,” Eaton told RNS from her Chicago office. “We’ve been stuck for over 30 years, and I hope this is the start of a trend where God opens our eyes to see the giftedness of people who are not of European descent.”