David Bailey elected as bishop of Navajoland

March 23, 2010

The Rev. Canon David Bailey of Utah was elected as bishop of the Navajoland Area Mission March 24 during the meeting of the House of Bishops at Camp Allen, Texas, pending the required consents from a majority of the church's diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction.

A simple majority of the votes cast by the bishops was necessary for the election, according to the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs. Bailey was the only candidate. He received 105 of 106 votes cast.

Bailey's ordination and consecration is scheduled for Aug. 7; Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori plans to preside.

Bailey was selected out of a field of two nominees at a special Oct. 17, 2009 convocation in Farmington, New Mexico. The election was presided over by the Rt. Rev. Rustin Kimsey, former assisting bishop of Navajoland.

The other nominee was the Rev. James Leehan, a retired Indiana priest and former vicar of Good Shepherd Mission in Fort Defiance, Arizona, in Navajoland.

Bailey had most recently served as canon to the ordinary and deployment officer for the Diocese of Utah.

The public affairs office confirmed that, even though Bailey was elected by the House of Bishops, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to his ordination within 120 days of receiving notice of the election, as required by the canons of the Episcopal Church (III.11.4).

Prior to his 1998 arrival in Utah, Bailey served as rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Phoenix and chaired Native American Ministries in the Diocese of Arizona. He also was a diocesan liaison to Navajoland.

He assisted Navajoland Bishop Steven Plummer in an administrative capacity, helping the area mission develop a mission statement, economic development plans and as a Hogan Learning Center consultant.

Plummer was the first Navajo ordained a priest and the first to serve in the House of Bishops. He was consecrated bishop of Navajoland in 1990.

After Plummer's 2005 death from lymphoma, Kimsey, retired bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, was appointed assisting bishop. Bailey continued to offer administrative support to Kimsey until the presiding bishop appointed former Diocese of Alaska Bishop Mark MacDonald as assisting bishop to succeed him.

MacDonald resigned as bishop of Alaska in 2007 after his appointment as the first national indigenous bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada. He continued to serve in Navajoland until July 27, 2009, when he formally resigned.

Created by General Convention 1978, Navajoland is the only area mission in the Episcopal Church. It functions much like a diocese but with more oversight from the office of the presiding bishop and the House of Bishops. The area mission was carved out of parts of the dioceses of Utah, Arizona and Rio Grande. Its border is contiguous with that of the Navajo Nation.

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