Bishop James Kelsey of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan was killed in a road accident at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, while returning to Marquette from a parish visitation, Jane Cisluycis, diocesan operations coordinator confirmed.Less than three weeks ago, Bishop Kelsey was presented with the degree of Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, by Episcopal Divinity School “for his prophetic leadership in supporting the baptismal ministry of all Episcopalians and for the Diocese’s work in helping to transform congregations from being communities gathered around a minister to ministering communities.” From the citation honoring Bishop Kelsey, offered by Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett:
Kelsey was traveling alone, but it is unclear at this time whether any other vehicles were involved in the incident.
"The Episcopal Church has today lost one of its bright lights," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said. "We will be less without the easy grace of Bishop James Kelsey -- Jim to most of us -- and we shall miss his humor, insight, and passion for the ministry of all. He gave us much. We pray for the repose of his soul, and for his family. We pray also for the Diocese of Northern Michigan. All of us have lost a friend. May he rest in peace and rise in glory"...
Some ministry folk who are truly skilled in collaborative, shared ministry are educated over time into this path. Some are deeply shaped in mutual ministry by those with whom they serve. Some are called out to witness biblically and prophetically, following the Apostle Paul’s missionary methods and appreciation of diverse gifts within each and every community. And some frankly are just born with a taste for companionship. Jim Kelsey, you are a bit of all of these paths to baptismal ministry, and much more.From Bishop Kelsey's 2006 Bishop's Address:
You not only speak of but you practice ‘shared Episcopacy.’ With consummate hospitality and unfailing good humor you and your diocesan family have shared your experience in ministry with many visitors from the U.S., Canada and overseas. We are proud too that you have persistently stood in genuine friendship with lesbian and gay colleagues, worked energetically for ecological justice in territory where natural gifts have mostly been ‘mined away,’ strategically spoken truth to power in recent Bishops’ meetings, and labored as a small diocese in this large land to advance other paths where justice and mercy meet.
We know that it is antithetical for you to accept any honor including this one standing alone in leadership without collegial brothers and sisters. We know too that the loving spirit of diocesan companions and far-flung friends upholds and travels with you.
...“I have a dream,” God says. “Please help me to realize it.” And the thing about it is this: It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than you. It’s bigger than us. Bigger than the any of our congregations. Bigger than our diocese. Bigger than the U.P. Bigger than the Episcopal Church church-wide. Bigger than the United States of America. Far bigger than the Anglican Communion world-wide. It’s bigger than our imaginations, and our own self-interests. Far bigger than our own dreams or goals or expectations for ourselves and for one another.I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I am one who needs to be drawn out of my own preoccupations and myopic vision. Day to day, I get caught up in my own personal agenda and at times (because of my job) our shared institutionalized agenda of budget meetings and personnel matters and group dynamics; what have you...
And because I am distracted by the many things, I lose sight of the One Thing, the Dream - of God’s Dream for us and for all of Creation. I forget, and I start to think that life is all about me, and I lose my focus on what matters most to me - which really isn’t so much about me, but us and all of Creation. It is what I think Desmond Tutu is calling “God Dream”.
God’s Way of Love in a world in which violence erupts on a daily basis and people and politics and public policy seem shaped more by fear and self-centered arrogance than by a vision of the connectedness which God has made as basic to creation as is the one blood which courses through the veins of all people everywhere...
Whoever has faith in me shall have life,
even though he die.
And everyone who has life,
and has committed himself to me in faith,
shall not die for ever.
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.
After my awaking, he will raise me up;
and in my body I shall see God.
I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger.
For none of us has life in himself,
and none becomes his own master when he dies.
For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,
and if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, then, whether we live or die,
we are the Lord’s possession.
Happy from now on
are those who die in the Lord!
So it is, says the Spirit,
for they rest from their labors.
O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus
Christ destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to
light: Grant that your servant James, being raised with him, may
know the strength of his presence, and rejoice in his eternal
glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal
graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all
their care on you, they may know the consolation of your
love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.