It was a dream come true. Bishop-elect Mariann Budde can hardly contain her excitement about her new job.
Budde will be the first ever female elected Bishop of Washington when she is consecrated to this life-time appointment on Saturday the National Cathedral. It’s one of the many Episcopal congregations that will now be under her authority, a place she calls a national treasure.
“Not in my wildest dreams. It's a joy and an honor beyond my ability to express,” she says. “It’s a gathering place for the nation in times of crisis and celebration and it's a pulpit for which the major issues of our time can be explored and addressed.”
(From 2001 to 2002, Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon, the Episcopal Church's second ever female bishop, served as Washington’s Bishop pro tempore.)
Budde went to seminary in Virginia, did many missions overseas and for 18 years was a priest in Minneapolis. She's been married for 25 years and has two sons, ages 23 and 20. She says her family helps her remember that the most important relationships are the ones closest to home.
Budde says her sons are part of the reason why helping young adults will be a priority as Bishop. She also plans to reach out to the diverse community of the nation’s capitol.
“I want to be among those who advocate for immigration reform,” she says.
The Episcopal church only began ordaining women in the 70's, and Budde says she feels tremendous gratitude for the women who made her opportunity possible.
“I don't want to be known for being the first woman Bishop - I want to be known as the Bishop who really moved things forward in a way that people could look back and say that was when things turned around,” she says.