Bishop Chilton Knudsen called as Chicago’s assisting bishop

Posted Aug 3, 2021

[Diocese of Chicago] The Diocese of Chicago Standing Committee announced that it had called Bishop Chilton Knudsen back to the diocese to serve as assisting bishop, beginning in early October. She will visit congregations and provide support for the Standing Committee, the bishop’s staff and other diocesan leadership bodies, according to an Aug.3 letter to the diocese from the Rev. Anne B Jolly, the committee’s president.

On July 29, Jolly and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry announced the ordination and consecration of Bishop-elect Paula Clark had been postponed from Aug. 28 to a date to be determined in consultation with Clark, her doctors and Curry.

Clark continues to recover from brain surgery after experiencing a cerebral bleed while exercising in April. The bishop-elect addressed the diocese alongside Curry and Jolly in a video announcing the third postponement of ordination and consecration.

Knudsen began her ordained ministry in the Diocese of Chicago. She graduated from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and was ordained a deacon by Bishop James Montgomery in 1980. In 1981, she was ordained a priest by Bishop Quintin Primo Jr. She served both St. Benedict’s, Bolingbrook, and Church of Our Saviour, Elmhurst, before joining then-Chicago Bishop Frank Griswold’s staff in 1987. In 1997, she was elected bishop of Maine, where she served from 1998 to 2008.

Since her retirement, Knudsen has served as interim or assisting bishop in six additional dioceses, including the Diocese of Washington, where she worked closely with Clark. She will maintain her residence in Maryland while spending the majority of each month in Chicago. The Standing Committee will remain the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, according to the letter.

“During this unexpected time of transition, we see God’s hand at work in bringing Bishop Chilton back to our diocese. She feels called to be with us as long as we need to have a successful transition, and the Standing Committee is grateful she has answered the call to serve as assisting bishop. We are also grateful to Bishop Mariann Budde and the people of the Diocese of Washington for their grace in giving her leave to end her ministry there and join us,” Jolly said.

“Thank you for your continued resilience, for your prayers for Bishop-elect Paula, and for what I know will be your warm welcome to Bishop Chilton as she returns home to the Diocese of Chicago,” she added.