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Dan Edwards consecrated as 10th bishop of Nevada


Episcopal bishops, local interfaith leaders, native American “smudgers” and drummers, choirs and churchgoers from throughout Nevada gathered January 5 to participate in the consecration of Dan Thomas Edwards as the 10th bishop of Nevada. The celebration at the Henderson Convention Center was led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori who served as Nevada’s ninth bishop.

The celebration began with a litany, written by Edwards, which recalled the visionary leadership of the late bishop Wesley Frensdorff, seventh bishop of Nevada, who “planted the seeds for the vibrant, diverse and life affirming ministries that can be found in Episcopal congregations large and small around the state,” a diocesan news release said.

Bishops participating in Edwards’ consecration were: Kirk Smith of Arizona; Neil Alexander of Atlanta; Jerry Lamb, retired of Northern California, who has been assisting in Nevada for the past year; Robert M. Anderson, Assistant of Los Angeles; Harry B. Bainbridge, III, of Idaho; Barry L. Beisner of Northern California; Michael Garrison of Western New York, a former priest in Las Vegas; Carolyn T. Irish of Utah; Bavi (Nedi) E. Rivera, Suffragan of Olympia; and James E. Waggoner, Jr., of Spokane.

Representing the Las Vegas Valley interfaith community were: the Most Rev. Joseph A. Pepe, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas; the Rev. Ron Bruckner, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Bishop Minerva G. Carcño, Desert Southwest Conference, United Methodist Church; the Rev. David Devereaux, North District Superintendent, Desert Southwest Conference, UMC; the Rev. Danut Palanceanu, The Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary Romanian Orthodox Church, Las Vegas; the Rev. William Phillips, Grand Canyon Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Rev. Drs. David and Ginger Jarmine, co-pastors, First Christian Church, Las Vegas, & co-presidents, Clark County Ministerial Association; Abbot Thom Pastor, Great Brightness Zen Center, Las Vegas; and Mr. Khalid Khan, president, Islamic Society of Nevada.

Edwards, 57, was previously rector of St. Francis’ Episcopal Church in Macon, Georgia. He was elected from a field of six nominees on October 12, 2007. Upon receiving the news of his election, Edwards said: "My sisters and brothers in Christ, with utmost humility and deep joy, I accept this call to serve as your bishop. Together we can engage in our many different ministries, ever mindful that we are all essential parts of the one Body of Christ, that all of our ministries serve one mission: to reconcile all people to God and each other in Christ. For the love and glory of God, we can build bridges across whatever divides us.

“Nevada is already an exciting, creative, trail-blazing diocese,” Edwards continued. Referring to Frensdorff, Nevada’s diocesan from 1972 to 1985, Edwards added: "Together, we can keep faith with Bishop’s Wes’s dream of the church, consolidate Bishop Katharine’s achievements, and share God’s love with more people than ever before. We can build a house where all are welcome. We can support a rising generation of young Episcopalians who have enough courage to shape the future with faith.

“With God’s help, the Church in Nevada will become ever more mission-minded and spirit-filled, ministering to those in need and advocating for those who are despised by the world but beloved of God. May the Lord strengthen, inspire, and unite us to do the work God has given us to do.”

Edwards grew up in Texas and practiced law in Colorado and Idaho. After serving as regional director of a Migrant Law program, he later became statewide director of a Native American Law program. His ministry has been with a diversity of congregations --- urban and rural, liberal and conservative, traditional and contemporary. He was an intern at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, and with the FisherFolk.

After assisting in a large downtown church, he became rector of St. Francis’ Macon, Georgia.

At St. Francis’, Edwards promoted servant leadership, Millennium Development Goals, and racial reconciliation. An advocate for ministry development, Edwards co-directed a diocesan program to train spiritual directors, taught in St. Luke’s (Atlanta) Pastoral Institute, and supervised aspirants in field placements. As convocation dean, he mentored other clergy and coordinated regional church activities. Edwards served on Atlanta’s diocesan Committee on Same Sex Blessings and promoted interfaith/ecumenical dialogue in his role as diocesan ecumenical officer. A former college chaplain, he has led retreats for church and college groups.

Edwards and his wife, Linda, have two married adult daughters. The bishop’s wife is the Macon Professor of Law at Mercer College, Macon, Georgia and will become a visiting professor of law at University of Nevada, Las Vegas in September 2008. Her areas of expertise include property law, legal analysis and legal writing. She is one of the foremost published authorities of legal writing in the United States.

The Diocese of Nevada comprises about 6,000 Episcopalians worshipping in 34 congregations, including one in the neighboring state of Arizona.


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