Chicago Bishop-elect Paula Clark’s consecration postponed, assisting bishop to be appointed

Posted Jul 29, 2021

The Rev. Paula Clark. Photo courtesy Diocese of Chicago

[Diocese of Chicago] The ordination and consecration of Bishop-elect Paula Clark has been postponed from Aug. 28 to a date to be determined in consultation with Clark and her doctors, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry announced on July 28. 

“We continue to have every expectation that Bishop-elect Clark will make a recovery enabling her to serve as the bishop of Chicago. But we are not there yet. Please hear me when I say, we are not there yet,” Curry said in a video recorded in Chicago, Illinois, alongside Clark and the Rev. Anne B Jolly, president of the diocese’s Standing Committee.

“Of course I am really sad I can’t be your bishop right now. It would be my preference to start as your bishop right this instant, but as you can hear from me right now, there is a little way that we have to go in order to be at full-time capacity,” Clark said, referring to her speech, which is still partially impaired in the wake of a cerebral bleed she suffered in April.

“While my medical team was confident I could have gone forward on August 28, the presiding bishop, Anne Jolly, and I feel it is best if I can be healed more at the time of the consecration, and able to begin work with you together,” Clark said.

The Standing Committee remains the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, Jolly said in the video. The group is in the final stages of securing an assisting bishop to serve the diocese beginning in the fall and expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks, she said.

“The Standing Committee, I will tell you, are your biggest cheerleaders,” Jolly told Clark. “We support you and pray for you and we have every expectation that you will make a full recovery and we look forward to the day that we can all serve together for this Diocese of Chicago we love so dearly.”

Clark, who was elected in December 2020 was originally set to be ordained and consecrated on April 24.