New Bishop for Southern Ohio

Thomas E. Breidenthal became the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio on April 28 at the Ohio State University campus.

Breidenthal, 56, was elected November 11 at the diocese’s annual convention. He is the former dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel at Princeton University.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the chief consecrator during the service at the Mershon Auditorium on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

New Jersey retired Bishop G. P. Mellick Belshaw, Southern Ohio retired Bishop William G. Black, New Jersey Bishop George E. Councell, Southern Ohio Bishop Suffragan Kenneth L. Price Jr., and New York Bishop Mark S. Sisk were the chief consecrators.

Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Jr. led the post-communion prayer.

Among those presenting Breidenthal with symbolic gifts during the liturgy was House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson who gave the new bishop the traditional gift of a Bible.

The auditorium’s two-tiered stage was crowded with lush green plants, musicians, a piano, organ and altar, according to an article in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper. A 250-member procession marched in to the sounds of a choir, trumpet and a young percussionist beating an African drum.

Deacons each carried tubs of water from the different rivers in southern Ohio and poured them all into one baptismal font in front of the altar.

The diocese includes 25,000 members in 40 counties of central and southern Ohio.

“It’s something that just pulls the whole diocese together,” said Molly Bailey, who traveled from Cincinnati for the consecration. “It’s not like this happens on a regular basis.”

Breidenthal succeeds Bishop Herbert Thompson Jr., who retired in December 2005 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 72. He died in August.

Here is the report from Episcopal Life Online, and here is the one from the Columbus Dispatch.

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