Briefly noted

December 11, 2007

In a church election watched closely, Jeffrey Lee, a Midwest native and rector of a church in Medina, Washington, was picked on the second ballot November 10 to be the next Episcopal bishop of Chicago. Lee won over seven other candidates, including Tracey Lind, the openly lesbian dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland. The Episcopal House of Bishops, in an effort to placate traditionalist Anglicans upset over the 2003 approval of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, had agreed in September to refrain from consecrating another bishop in a same-gender relationship. Lind placed fourth on the final ballot. Lee, 50, who got 337 votes to 174 for the second-place candidate, said after his victory that he is grateful to serve a diocese so rich in diversity, and that he favors full inclusion of gays and lesbians in ministry: “The church has to catch up with God’s vision.”

Tenured faculty at Oral Roberts University approved a motion November 12 voicing “no confidence” in Richard Roberts, the embattled president of the charismatic Christian university in Tulsa. Amid intense scrutiny over allegations of financial, political and other wrongdoing, the son of the university’s namesake founder placed himself on indefinite leave of absence October 17. Roberts, who has denied wrongdoing, said he expects to return to the post in “God’s timing.” The no-confidence vote was not to be construed “as a judgment of guilt or innocence with regard to the present lawsuit,” said a letter by the tenured faculty, which referred to whistle-blowing colleagues who filed suit. The letter indicated that the vote by a quorum of the tenured faculty was the result of years of shortcomings by Roberts. A university spokesperson declined to comment.