EXCLUSIVE: Lent Madness Sweeps House of Bishops

Bishop Curry with mugAs some Lent Madness fans will know, the bishops of the Episcopal Church gather a few times a year to engage in important bishop activities. Normally, those who are not bishops are not privy to exactly what goes on at these meetings, but we know it’s vital and holy, because bishops. Right now, the bishops are meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina. When they’re not eating world-famous Kanuga Toast, the bishops are bishoping.

The Supreme Executive Committee has placed a spy inside the House of Bishops, and we are pleased to share exclusive photos of bishops doing important bishop things. We have learned that, in fact, Lent Madness is an important part of this bishops’ meeting.

Even the Presiding Bishop has purple fever, not the kind that comes from a purple shirt, but the kind that comes from Lent Madness. See, pictured in the top-right, Bishop Michael Curry sporting a Dietrich Bonhoeffer 2016 Golden Halo winner mug (and you can get one too).

Here are some more exclusive photos showing the behind-the-scenes work of the House of Bishops.

Bishops pondering
Here we see (from left to right) Bishops Josè McLoughlin of Western North Carolina, Matthew Gunter of Fond du Lac, and Anne Hodges-Copple of North Carolina pondering the merits of various saints. Look at the high-grade pondering here, folks. This is why these people are bishops.

Eaton PHOD
Bishop Peter Eaton of Southeast Florida and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, find common ground as Lent Madness fans and, no doubt, discussing the life of Bishop William White, who was the ultimate crossover artist. White served as President of the House of Deputies back in the day and then as Presiding Bishop. Some people say the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies aren’t in harmony, but this photo proves naysayers wrong. Also, we all know both houses are united against a common foe, the House of Pancakes.

Spellers Duncan-Probe
Here the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers and Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe of Central New York are clearly enjoying the Madness. Canon Spellers does great work and has one of the coolest titles in the Episcopal Church, “Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Stewardship of Creation.” Can it be long before she’s the “Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, Stewardship of Creation, and Liaison to the Saintly Smackdown”?

Bp NeilNow, there are people who say that Lent Madness is too silly to be taken seriously, that it’s all halo and no substance. This photo right here proves them all wrong. You see, this is Bishop Neil Alexander, sometime Bishop of Atlanta and now dean of the School of Theology at the University of the South. Got that?! A seminary dean and bishop is sporting a Lent Madness mug. Doubters: the case is closed. And by the way, if you’re trying to decide where to send people to seminary, Sewanee is VERY CLOSE to receiving an official endorsement from the SEC. We happen to know those people are big fans of the saintly smackdown.

PB Neva
Here is Celebrity Blogger Neva Rae Fox pictured with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Who’s a bigger deal? Hard to say. Chief Pastor and Primate vs. Celebrity Blogger. We’ll call that a toss-up.

We hope you have enjoyed this exclusive content. More news from the House of Bishops as we learn it. We’re sure you’ll understand the need for complete secrecy around the identity of our spy. But the Supreme Executive Committee is gracious, so we’ll give you a couple of hints. The spy’s code name is Opera Fan, and we’ll tell you she’s clever like a…fox.

Until Monday, when the competition resumes, we wish you luck surviving this first full weekend of Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW). Stay safe, people.

76 Comments to "EXCLUSIVE: Lent Madness Sweeps House of Bishops"

  1. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 11, 2017 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    I am surely edified by the Supremely close connection between the pondering going on at Kanuga and Lent Madness.

    • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
      March 11, 2017 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Bishop Diane Bruce of The Diocese of LA is also a fan.

  2. Thomas (Athanasios) Stama's Gravatar Thomas (Athanasios) Stama
    March 11, 2017 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I cannot take the withdrawal! Need saintly writings!

    • Kaethe Langs's Gravatar Kaethe Langs
      March 11, 2017 - 11:46 am | Permalink

      Me too!!! Missing them!!!

  3. Emily's Gravatar Emily
    March 11, 2017 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Holy Mole-y what a photo op! Still, my favorite PAST photo remains Bishop Michael Curry (pre-presiding) posing with Golden Halo winner Mary Magdelene (cardboard cutout). What a couple.

  4. Lawrence Elliott's Gravatar Lawrence Elliott
    March 11, 2017 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    This is why I’m an Episcopalian.

    • linda's Gravatar linda
      March 11, 2017 - 9:54 am | Permalink

      ditto-although I was born into it I chose to stay.

      • Heather Swearingen's Gravatar Heather Swearingen
        March 11, 2017 - 10:53 am | Permalink

        Me too!

    • Isabelle's Gravatar Isabelle
      March 11, 2017 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      This is why I am SO GLAD I became an Episcopalian after being raised Catholic by my Catholic mom (and having a Jewish father). Episcopalians know how to have a good time AND do good works! Best of both worlds…

      • Sandy Chambers's Gravatar Sandy Chambers
        March 11, 2017 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

        With Pope Francis as our current “Head Bishop” Catholics, we have a leader who knows how to live life with joy, laughter and good works.

        • Richard's Gravatar Richard
          March 12, 2017 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Maybe they should invite Pope Francis next year.

          • Tom Schulte's Gravatar Tom Schulte
            March 13, 2017 - 8:42 am | Permalink

            Wouldn’t that be a feather in the Episcopal Church’s cap if they managed to broker a reunion with Rome!

  5. Mtr. Marcia Tremmel's Gravatar Mtr. Marcia Tremmel
    March 11, 2017 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Love it. House of Bishops in my prayers, especially our Bishop, Dabney Smith, who just celebrated the 10th anniversary of his consecration.

    • M Kahn's Gravatar M Kahn
      March 11, 2017 - 9:16 am | Permalink

      Yes!!!! Looked for a photo of him. We were there as former parishioners from St Michael’s, South Bend

  6. Mother Hall's Gravatar Mother Hall
    March 11, 2017 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Delightful. Very happy with the mention of Swanee (University of the South), my husband’s alma mater.

  7. Barb Drewry-Zimmerman's Gravatar Barb Drewry-Zimmerman
    March 11, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    So glad to see that my Bishop Matt Gunter is part of this “madness”!!! This is another way that he is supporting his diocesan EfM groups who are part of Lent Madness (as if they didn’t have enough to read already!!!)

  8. katie dailey's Gravatar katie dailey
    March 11, 2017 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Household of God, Detroit event, hosted Bishop Curry years ago. He so blessed us with his message and song. Just love his messages and energy.

  9. Kandy's Gravatar Kandy
    March 11, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    This made my morning

  10. Jan Smedley's Gravatar Jan Smedley
    March 11, 2017 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Peter!!

  11. Joyce A Fletcher Menard's Gravatar Joyce A Fletcher Menard
    March 11, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Jensen Beach FL is doing the Lent Madness study, so glad to see our Bishop Peter Eaton in these photos from the House of Bishops.

  12. Ntathu's Gravatar Ntathu
    March 11, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    They are not wearing mitres! Fake news!

    • Judy A's Gravatar Judy A
      March 11, 2017 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      2nding the “fake news” allegation. No mitres, no violet shirts.

  13. Deacon Dorothee's Gravatar Deacon Dorothee
    March 11, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Way to get the Bishop work done right. Coffee does taste better in a proper mug!

  14. Maryanne Theyerl's Gravatar Maryanne Theyerl
    March 11, 2017 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Lent madness always inspires me to do a little research – this time I learned of the legend of Kanuga toast. Thank you!

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      March 11, 2017 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      Your post inspired me to google it too. Great story!

    • Rilla Holmes's Gravatar Rilla Holmes
      March 11, 2017 - 11:49 am | Permalink

      Srsly. Kanuga toast = ceiling tile

  15. MARGERY Wilson's Gravatar MARGERY Wilson
    March 11, 2017 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Wiki-Bishop leaks! We all must be informed of Bishop madness! Good job! We know, at least, they have fun!! Go Bishops!

  16. Monica Irwin's Gravatar Monica Irwin
    March 11, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Purple Power!

  17. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 11, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Thank God there’s a warning about Kanuga Toast when you Google it online! Kathleen Purvis’s 2014 article on the crispy stuff comes up at the top of the stack, and she warns you not to try making it at home! I was about to run (well, waddle) to my kitchen and try whipping up a batch to see what the ecstasy was all about. And BTW you should never travel anywhere breakfast is served without bringing along your own packets of marmalade. I filch as many as I can whenever I eat breakfast at one of the (alas, too few) places that has them on offer.

    • March 11, 2017 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

      We must be related! I am Shirley Lewis Gordon, and I judge restaurants by whether or not they have marmalade. I have 9 packets of filched marmalade on hand. BTW I am a 94 year old widow and live in Alaska where my husband was the Episcopal bishop for 26 years.

  18. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 11, 2017 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Three cheers for the spy and the info!

  19. MR McKenney's Gravatar MR McKenney
    March 11, 2017 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    I’m delighted and encouraged with our Episcopal church – to see Bishops relaxed and enjoying community warms my heart. Thank you for providing this glimpse and humor!

  20. March 11, 2017 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    SEC, your timely post reminds me that our soon-to-be seated new Bishop, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, would undoubtedly find her consecration complete with the gift of a Lent Madness mug. (hint, hint) I wouldn’t want there to be any mug envy among the bishops when they are bishoping.
    Yours in the Golden Hallo, hg

    • Rilla Holmes's Gravatar Rilla Holmes
      March 11, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

      Yes!!! Surely her most cherished Mug to the Ordinary

  21. Kathy Trotter's Gravatar Kathy Trotter
    March 11, 2017 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    And where is our Iowa Bishop, Alan Scarfe?

  22. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    March 11, 2017 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Nice to see our brand new Bishop of Central New York sporting her LM mug!

  23. Betsy H's Gravatar Betsy H
    March 11, 2017 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the fix! I was in serious Lent madness withdrawal. Glad to know our Bishops are being fortified with Saintly mugs of coffee. Will we ever see a saintly coffee blend in the Lentorium? Could be good for mug sales…”Bishop’s Bounty”, “Celebrity Blogger Joe”…

  24. Gina's Gravatar Gina
    March 11, 2017 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    I second that on our new Bishop of Central NY. Hello to Bishop DeDe!Gina

  25. Marion Jenkins's Gravatar Marion Jenkins
    March 11, 2017 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    You have a very cool House of Bishops.

    With love from a Canadian

  26. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 11, 2017 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Tune: Lead on O King Eternal

    Do they wear purple halos,
    Our bishops when they meet?
    We know they’re mighty holy;
    Our spiritual athletes.
    May God grant them true wisdom
    And joyous humor too!
    To lead the Jesus Movement
    Needs daily grace renewed!

    • Isabelle's Gravatar Isabelle
      March 11, 2017 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      Nice ditty, Diana!!

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 11, 2017 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Wonderfully written,
      Delightful Diana,
      Go Purple power!

    • Jan Curtis's Gravatar Jan Curtis
      March 11, 2017 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

      True wisdom and joyous humor, Diana, YES. Excellent verse…thank you.

  27. Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
    March 11, 2017 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Yet another reason to love Lent Madness!!! The Presiding Bishop has the most spectacular smile, along with all his other spectacular attributes, and it’s great to have 2 new photos of him smiling that smile. Thank you so much for the wonderful story and the delightful photos.

  28. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 11, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Wow, bishops bishoping! And with Lent Madness mugs! That should tide me over until Monday!

  29. Julie Morris's Gravatar Julie Morris
    March 11, 2017 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    So funny. Thank you.

  30. Carol Oppel's Gravatar Carol Oppel
    March 11, 2017 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I lived in North Carolina for fifteen years, and spent a lot of time at Kanuga. Love the place. Thanks for the LMW fix – keep ’em coming.

  31. March 11, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Love how they get together.

  32. Carol Amadio's Gravatar Carol Amadio
    March 11, 2017 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Great Intel. Glad to see high level pondering is occurring. I would like to see a photo of Bishop’s Lee and Gunter pondering together. The Bonhoeffer mug is the right touch.

  33. Marianne Gray's Gravatar Marianne Gray
    March 11, 2017 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    I’m just curious about “bishoping.” Shouldn’t it be “bishopping?”
    And I love Lent Madness no matter how you spell it!

  34. March 11, 2017 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Isn’t Lent Madness the entire purpose of the Bishops meeting at this time of the year?

  35. Ablutions's Gravatar Ablutions
    March 11, 2017 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Recall seeing years ago, a bumper sticker that read: “A woman’s place is in the House —–of Bishops” and thinking (or perhaps praying), “Hope this happens in my lifetime!” And, guess what ? IT DID !!!

  36. Brenda McHenry's Gravatar Brenda McHenry
    March 11, 2017 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Let’s hear it for bishops in jeans! And great “bishop hymn” today. “Lead on…

  37. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 11, 2017 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Glad to hear they like Lent Madness, but also glad to know they are holding their meeting at Kanuga – another holy place.

  38. Rilla Holmes's Gravatar Rilla Holmes
    March 11, 2017 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Kanuga toast is made of ceiling tile. Toasted ceiling tile. IMHO.

  39. March 11, 2017 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Just another reason to love Lent Madness!! How does the church function without the coffee pot (or teapot) in operation for every meeting? And of course, the proper mug is necessary!!!

  40. Kathy Romain's Gravatar Kathy Romain
    March 11, 2017 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Happy to see the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, who will present a workshop on “The Spirituality and Practice of the Jesus Movement” August 4-6 at the Adelynrood Conference Center in Byfield, MA.

  41. Sara Milford's Gravatar Sara Milford
    March 11, 2017 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Best news I’ve read all day!

  42. Allen McCorstin's Gravatar Allen McCorstin
    March 11, 2017 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Is that our PB wearing . . . blue jeans?

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 12, 2017 - 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and it appears he has an iPhone close at hand too.

  43. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    March 11, 2017 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

    And of course, remember that every Sunday we have a day of Lent withdrawal entirely. So if you have some problems upholding all those self-denial vows, just remember that Sundays are not Lent, so you’re off the hook for 24 hours and no harm, no foul.
    I continue to be surprised by folks not aware of this. (“Gee! No WONDER Lent always seems to be so long. It’s all those Sundays!”) It’s only fitting. The JOY of the Resurrection always trumps all those self-punitive urges.

  44. Robert E. Garrett's Gravatar Robert E. Garrett
    March 11, 2017 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I would like the Supreme Executive Committee to consider sending one or more Golden Halo mugs to Pope Francis at the Vatican. Ecumenism would certainly benefit from such a gesture. We will know that Church Unity is moving forwards when we see Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, at one of their cardinaling retreats at Castle Gandolfo, smiling and holding Golden Halo mugs!

  45. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    March 11, 2017 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, dear spy, for letting us see the gifts of the Spirit in such a spirited way among our bishops. Do they drink “spirits”-ually from these blessed mugs? Hmmm, what beverage of choice would our respective halo winners drink? Bonhoeffer, altbier? Charles Wesley, definitely not gin, maybe wine? Francis, a chianti?

  46. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 11, 2017 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    This is my first Lent Madness and I feel right at home, and appreciate the spy news.

  47. March 11, 2017 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Great pictures

  48. Shawna's Gravatar Shawna
    March 11, 2017 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    What’s Kanuga toast?

  49. March 11, 2017 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

    How delightful! Thank you and Neva Rae for this Saturday treat.

    • Neva Rae Fox's Gravatar Neva Rae Fox
      March 12, 2017 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Lisa – more photos on the way!

      • Natalie Doyle-Hennin's Gravatar Natalie Doyle-Hennin
        March 13, 2017 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Thanks! What a scoop!

  50. Linda Watson-Lorde's Gravatar Linda Watson-Lorde
    March 11, 2017 - 9:17 pm | Permalink


  51. Sharon Favorite Lemler's Gravatar Sharon Favorite Lemler
    March 11, 2017 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Really? I do accept that humor can be a very valuable tool for coping with difficulties in personal and corporate life….. nothing against that. Use it myself. And still – all this is just a bit hard to take when we are in such truly treacherous times. To turn Bonhoeffer into a cutesie logo, etc etc with the current dearth of real leaders and genuinely moral voices in our Christian and interfaith communities, leaves me, a humble laywoman, rather disappointed, to be honest. (It’s not why I am an Episcopalian.)

  52. Judy Hutchinson's Gravatar Judy Hutchinson
    March 12, 2017 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    These photos are great ! Thanks for including them for us to see. Good news dep’t.


  53. Kay Rossiter's Gravatar Kay Rossiter
    March 17, 2017 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Being a fan of toast, I want to know what “world famous Kanuga toast” is.
    Kay Rossiter

Comments are closed.