Nominees for Diocesan Bishop
Pacific Northwest Region
Rev. Kedda Keough
What does calling for a diocesan bishop mean for us in the Pacific Northwest Region of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion? It means we are saying that we believe in a future; that we believe in the ECC, and that the ECC is going to continue to exist in the PNW. Electing a bishop is about the Church that is forming in the PNW. It is about us and a desire to be the ECC Church for our region. In ECC theology, as in Catholicism generally, the wholeness of a Church consists of a bishop, priests, deacons, and laity.
Calling forth our own bishop is the symbol that we are a whole Church in the PNW; that we have matured and are ready to take our place as Church. The focus is on the unity of our faith communities here in the PNW. We are saying we are no longer a mission territory. I am excited for us to take on this new venture together.
When I encountered the ECC back in 2003 in the persons of Bishop Peter Elder Hickman and his wife Mirella, I recognized that I had found an authentic way to be Catholic, where I could be my authentic self. At the time I did not realize that the ECC was newly formed that same year. It was my privilege to grow with the ECC as it grew in numbers across the nation, and even internationally. Here in the PNW we began with a group we called ECC Explorers, inviting Bishop Peter to return several times to teach us about ECC. It was in 2006 that we stopped calling ourselves “explorers” and became the first ECC community in Seattle. It was in 2007 that I found new companions, and we formed the second community, Emmaus ECC, in the South Sound area, in Olympia.
Over the years I have tested the authenticity of our ECC Catholicism. As someone who was born and raised in the Roman Catholic Church, and was formed by the Council of Vatican II, it was essential to me that I belong to an authentic Catholicism, that had the spirit I had discovered in the documents of the Council of Vatican II, and where I could be true to myself and maintain my personal integrity. I have found the best way to be Catholic in the ECC. If I am the bishop for the PNW, it will be my joy to support the continued growth of ECC in our region, not just in numbers, but in spirt, in knowledge, and in holiness. My leadership experience is a pastoral leadership, a collaborative leadership, and I am comfortable with a great deal of diversity. After all, that’s what being Catholic is all about.
A few particulars:
Leadership participation in ECC:
2017 to present: ECC Vicar for the Pacific Northwest Region
2007 to present: Pastoral leader for Emmaus ECC in Olympia. Pastor 2012 to 2014: President of the House of Pastors, and on the Leadership Council.
2010 to 1012: Vice President of the House of Pastors, and on the Leadership Council.
2003 to present: Participant of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. I attended all the Synods from 2005 on and will attend the 2018 Synod. I first met Bishop Peter Hickman when he visited our area in 2003 and a group exploring ECC invited him back to our region several times to educate us about the ECC.
Other Leadership experience:
2018 to present: President of the Interfaith Works Board 2016 to 2018: Vice president of the Interfaith Works Board 2014 to present: Interfaith Works Board Member
1988 to 1989: Executive Director of the North Snohomish Association of Churches
1985 to 2006: Lay Ecclesial Ministry. Served as Pastoral Associate in three different parishes.
Master of Divinity from Seattle University, with a specialization in Liturgy and later a Certificate in Pastoral Leadership from the School of Theology and Ministry.
Archbishop Hunthausen selected me to be in the Parochial Minister Pool in 1991. This was a small group of people with MDiv degrees who were chosen to be in formation to be lay pastors for the parishes of the Archdiocese of Seattle. This training was incorporated into the same training that new priest pastors were receiving at the time and included administrative areas, as well as small group sessions. I have used the formation I received in this program down through the years.
Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Peter Elder Hickman in March of 2011. It is interesting to me that we are one of the few ECC communities that began as laity, without a priest and were privileged to call forth our priests from our midst. In fact, I believe that more communities can begin in the same way. This was a powerful experience for our community and gives true ownership of the community to the people.
Present employment: Real Estate Professional from 2006 to the present. This profession allows me to be flexible with my time, though it is also a 24/7 sort of job. I am not dependent on the Church for my income.
Rev. Jack R. Miller
When we began the process of electing a new bishop last year, the first thing we had to consider was what kind of bishop were we looking for, what attributes were important, and what did we expect from a bishop. We thought it was important to have this clear in our minds before we began to consider who the ideal candidate would be. At the time, I had no idea that I would become a candidate, my only focus was on the needs of our region, and what manner of person would guide us into the future.
I am relatively new to the ECC, but not new to Catholicism, ministry or positions of leadership. My education and experience speak for themselves and sometimes a fresh set of eyes and ears is exactly what a loving community needs to move forward and grow. You already have the details of my history and qualifications, so I would like to concentrate briefly on what my vision of a bishop is and what sort of bishop I would like to be. (If you have not reviewed my qualifications, click HERE)
Ed McGaa (Eagle Man) is a proud member of the Oglala Sioux, the author of many books and a fellow Vietnam veteran. I’ve considered him as a friend and mentor for many years. We met when I took a class on Native Spirituality from him several years ago. Sadly, he passed away last year. In his book entitled “Nature’s Way,” Ed wrote about the philosophy of “one among many,” which speaks to humankind’s responsibility to respect each other, their community and all creation. Ed also wrote about the process of getting to know someone and the right questions to ask. In his way of thinking, the most important and telling question was, “Who were your teachers?” Who influenced you in becoming the person you have become? So, in sharing my vision of what a bishop is and what sort of bishop I would be, let’s look at a few of my teachers, and how they will influence the bishop I would like to become.
Archbishop Larry Harms was the presiding bishop of the American Catholic Church in the United States (ACCUS) at the time of my ordination to the deaconate and priesthood. He was an imposing figure with a heart of gold. He loved God, loved his flock, loved children, loved the mass, and loved his partner of twenty-five years. Larry was passionate, pastoral, and forgiving. He once told Liz and I that no one was perfect, and as priests we would make mistakes. “If you must err,” he told us, “always err on the side of love.” My fondest memory of Larry was when he knelt his six-foot-eight-inch frame before me at the end of my ordination service. He wanted to be the first to receive a blessing. I learned the meaning of true humbleness as he looked up with the eyes of a child to receive a new priests hands and blessing. Larry taught me to listen more than speak and to never put myself above anyone, no matter your physical height, station in life or the title you hold. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, “one among many,” and fellow imperfect souls. Larry left me one of his pectoral crosses when he died. I will wear it in his memory should I ever become a bishop.
We met Bishop Brian Delvaux (American Catholic Church) while attending the ordination service of a friend at the St. Francis by the Sea Cathedral in Laguna Beach, California. He was one of two bishops there and impressed me with his personable yet unassuming nature. Frankly, except for the color of his clergy shirt and zucchetto, one would never have guessed he was a bishop. I came across a photograph of him taken during mass that touched me. He had passed the elements of the Eucharist to the co-presiders on either side, and then stood with head bowed and hands folded in prayer as the Doxology was being sung. I had never seen a bishop do this before. At the ordination service the other bishop was in full regalia including a custom handmade staff, and a tall elegant miter, but I can’t remember Bishop Delvaux wearing a miter or holding a staff even during the processions. I learned from this that the Eucharistic service is not about the bishop, it’s about a celebration that we all participate in and share together. We are, after all, one faith, one body, one spirit in Christ. A bishop is not defined by garments worn, a bishop is defined by the connection he or she has with God and the people he or she is called to serve. It is a matter of heart, not a matter of protocol or accessories. Jesus came to serve and not be served, that constitutes the soul a bishop should embody, a servant’s heart and a deacon’s spirit.
There were other “teachers” who will remain unnamed. They taught me how not to be as a bishop. I am not into fancy robes or meaningless ritual, and I do not think that rings should be kissed. If the miter is indeed a symbol of the tongues of fire at Pentecost, we must remember they came to rest on the head of everyone who was there, not a select few. If I wear the miter, I wear it for all those who are touched by the Spirit. While I have great respect for tradition, I do not feel the way it has always been done is necessarily the way to journey into the future. I believe we should grow in our unity as a region, but also that each community needs to find their own voice, their own personality, their own way of expressing the love of Christ in our day and time. Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes, Chapter II, Section 2, 58) taught this in addressing how the Church and a culture should work together in developing a relationship, a living exchange that benefits and enriches both. That is who we are as Catholics, who we are as the ECC, and who we are as God’s faithful people here in the Pacific Northwest. That is also who I want to be should I become your bishop.
Peace and Blessings … Rev. Jack