Diocese of Chicago issues update on Bishop-elect Paula Clark

Posted Oct 26, 2021

[Episcopal News Service] The Diocese of Chicago’s ordination and consecration of Bishop-elect Paula Clark has been on hold since she experienced a cerebral bleed while exercising in April. Bishop Chilton Knudsen agreed to serve the diocese as assisting bishop in the interim, and on Oct. 26, Knudsen and the Rev. Anne B Jolly, president of the Standing Committee, issued the following update.

We write to you today with gratitude for your continued love and prayers for our diocese and for Bishop-elect Paula Clark, and to share an update.

You may remember that in July, when Presiding Bishop Michael Curry decided to postpone Paula’s ordination and consecration indefinitely to give her time for rest and recovery, he pledged to meet with her and her team of physicians every three months to assess her readiness to assume the office of Bishop of Chicago. He had hoped to have such a meeting in October.

Since then, as you know, Paula’s husband, Andrew McLean, has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She is now with him in Washington D.C., making decisions about his care and spending time with him and their family. Although Paula has nevertheless continued her speech therapy during this most difficult time, Andrew’s illness and her time away from Chicago have delayed the Presiding Bishop’s consultation with her medical team at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab here in Chicago. He hopes that she will be able to complete an assessment with her treatment team at Shirley Ryan soon so that he can consult with them and with her by the end of November. The Standing Committee remains in regular conversation with the Presiding Bishop’s office and will share more information when the consultation is completed. Please continue to pray for Paula and Andrew as we await this update.

In the meantime, our mission and ministry in the Diocese of Chicago continue. We are writing to you today from the annual clergy conference, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began. These few days are a brief respite from the busy season of congregational visitations, ordinations, and confirmations that resumed earlier this month—a season that will include the annual Hispanic liturgy and confirmation service at St. James Cathedral on December 4.

With the bishop’s staff and leaders from across the diocese, we are also preparing for the 184th annual convention of the diocese on November 20. We look forward to seeing many of you online that day and sharing with you more updates about the ministry of the diocese in these liminal times.

Thank you, as always, for your prayer and care for Paula and for our beloved church.