Chancellor Jim Steadman Honored as Diocese’s Newest Canon

During Convention 2015’s Eucharist Bishop Sean made Jim Steadman Canon Chancellor for his years of unparalleled service to the Diocese.  Below are the words Bishop Sean read aloud.


DSCN1815You graduated from the fine and elite institution of higher learning called Grove City College in 1972, a distinction you share with the Cathedral Dean and the Bishop. You also met your wife and dedicated partner in life, Alison. You went on to Dickinson Law School and graduated in 1975 earning your Juris Doctor. After a brief time serving the United States Small Business Administration, you returned to your hometown of Girard, PA where you have practiced law ever since.

Your service to the community is distinguished and too lengthy to recall in full. Among your many and varied ways of giving back to the community, you have served as President of the Erie County Bar Association, on the Boards of the Erie Philharmonic and the Erie County Historical Society, and as a Girard Borough Councilman. You are an advocate for the poor, a compassionate presence, and a voice for those who have none. In the courts and in the community you are highly regarded as a person of tremendous gifts and deep integrity. Bishops, clergy, judges, and attorneys alike look to you for wisdom and guidance.

Our Cathedral and Diocese are beneficiaries of your considerable gifts. For more than a decade you have served as Chancellor of the Cathedral and for nearly that long as the Chancellor of the Diocese. During a time of trial, when our diocese was facing a significant scandal of child sexual abuse, you were a steady counselor and always led me to make the moral decisions that were in the best interest of the victims and justice and never the institution.

DSCN1818A widely circulated book about communication and crisis communication in faith communities, which uses our handling of sexual abuse as a case study and process worth emulating, includes a section entitled Don’t let the lawyers run the show. The authors cite you as the exception and say, ‘ We have been privileged to work with several Church lawyers who are the exception that prove this rule.   When a crisis communication team is fortunate enough to include one of these lawyers, it’s possible to turn a crisis into a profound opportunity to show that the church can live according to it’s precepts even when things are very difficult.’ The authors used your name more than once in their discussion about how best to address these matters with integrity and the values of faith.

As a bishop, I dare not even pray for a better counselor, chancellor, mentor, and friend.

In gratitude for your remarkable service to the community and our beloved diocese, it is my privilege this day to name you Canon Chancellor of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Given under my hand and seal in the City of Erie on the sixth day of November 2015 and in the ninth year of my episcopate.

Sean W. Rowe, Bishop


A Reflection from General Convention

The Supreme Court released it’s ruling on same sex marriage this morning. I was in a committee meeting at the time and a member interrupted the business to make the announcement. I understand the announcement interrupted most of the committees. At The General Convention, I can often feel rather isolated from the world. I don’t watch TV or read the paper. Occasionally I will check online but with the 14 hour schedule each day, there is little time. But this morning shows that news still gets through to us.

I ran into Lynette Rhodes Williams at lunch today. She reminded me that on Sunday at the ECW luncheon her late mother, Frances Rhodes, would be honored as Woman of the Year in NWPA. Frances was so very active in St. Francis, Youngsville, and in the Diocese. She and I often drove together to various events and, since we both enjoyed talking, we solved all the problems of the world during those trips. Now if only the world (or church) would listen to us. Frances was a dear friend and richly deserving of this honor.

Music at Eucharist this morning was provided by a jazz ensemble which had us dancing and clapping during the prelude (Click on this link to see a video of the jazz performance: The chaplain for the House of Deputies has used song, drums and video during his meditations and prayers which has had us all singing, clapping and laughing. Worshipping with a few thousand fellow Episcopalians is always uplifting.

There is still so much work to get through. The committees and the two houses are organized and working hard to perfect resolutions and set the course of the church for the next three years. Tomorrow the House of Bishops will elect a new Presiding Bishop as they gather in St. Mark’s Cathedral. They will then wait there until the House of Deputies confirms (or not) their selection.

Much still to do. We will be in Convention until July third. Of your mercy, please pray for us.

The Rev. Canon Brian Reid, Deputy from The Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania