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Auto accident claims life of Northern Michigan Bishop James Kelsey


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.

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.”

Born in 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland, Kelsey graduated from Ithaca College in 1974, and from General Theological Seminary in New York City in 1977. In 1985, Kelsey moved with his family to Oklahoma, where he served for four years as canon missioner for Cluster Ministries. In 1989, he was called to the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where he served for 10 years as ministry development coordinator before being elected bishop in 1999.

Kelsey will be remembered as a welcoming and open person who always endeavored to include others, Cisluycis said. “It is hard to imagine the hole he will leave behind,” she said.

Kelsey is survived by his wife, Mary, and three grown children.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


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