Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bishop Ronald Haines Dies

Bishop Ronald Haines was an advocate for gays within his diocese in Washington, even though this didn't always make him popular with many leaders and congregation members. He passed away Friday at the age of 73.

Haines was not orthrodox in many ways - making tremendous steps in the way of inclusion for women and gays in church leadership, where previously there was none. He became bishop in September of 1989. He would remain bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington throughout the 1990s - igniting a great deal of controversy during his tenure.

Less than one year after he was elected bishop, Haines ordained an open lesbian as a pastor. The ordination of Rev. Elizabeth L. Carl triggered a great deal of protest. Even Haines' wife opposed the ordination. However, he stuck with his convictions and went forward.

His desire for inclusion continued through the years. In 1992 he named Jane Holmes Dixon suffragan bishop, the first woman to hold that title in the Washington diocese.

It takes brave leaders like Haines to significantly advance the progress of equality and inclusion for women and gays. Hopefully he opened the minds of many that were closed. The advances he made for women and for the LGBT will always be remembered. And I think I'll close with a line from one of my favorite hymns- his living was not in vain.

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