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Bonnie Anderson honored with two degrees in two days

October 9, 2009

Within two days, President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson will be honored with two honorary degrees from two Episcopal seminaries.

On October 13, Anderson will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Canon Law from The University of the South, Sewanee, TN. Two days later, on October 15, The General Theological Seminary in New York City will bestow Anderson with the honorary degree Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

Anderson is the 32nd President of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church and the second lay woman to hold this elected post.

University of the South, Sewanee

At Sewanee, founded in 1878, Anderson"s award will be part of the Founders' Day Convocation. Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of public television"s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, will deliver the Founders" Day address.

"To be welcomed to the Sewanee Community is an honor," Anderson commented. "Episcopal laity and clergy from dioceses across the south founded Sewanee over 150 years ago. By its existence and excellence, Sewanee is a testimony to the ministry of all the baptized."

General Theological Seminary

At General Theological Seminary, the oldest seminary of the Episcopal Church, Anderson will receive her honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Dean Ward B. Ewing. Preacher for the service will be the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts and the first woman to be ordained bishop in the Episcopal Church and throughout the Anglican Communion.

"Chartered in 1817 by the General Convention, the General Theological Seminary was created to be a resource for the whole Episcopal Church," Anderson explained. "It is a great pleasure and honor for me to become part of the rich history of partnership shared between the General Convention and the General Theological Seminary."

Meet Bonnie Anderson
Bonnie Anderson posses a lengthy service in the Episcopal Church. She is an advocate for the ministry of the laity. Elected as president of the House of Deputies in 2006 and reelected in 2009, Anderson served in the Diocese of Michigan in many capacities including Canon to the Ordinary, President of the Standing Committee, and member of the Commission on Ministry. In her southeast Michigan community, she designed, coordinated and implemented a citizen-sponsored river clean up involving 22 local governments and over 4,000 volunteers. The Governor of Michigan appointed her as a public member of the Michigan Environmental Review Board.

Anderson has been an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan in the School of Natural Resources and the Women"s Studies Department. Her published resources include "Spirituality and the Earth; Exploring Connections," "A Citizen"s Guidebook to the Great Lakes Ecosystem" and "White Racism: Look Me in the Eye."

She is a seven-time lay deputy to General Convention and had served as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) for three terms.

Elected by Province V as its lay representative to Executive Council, Anderson served on Executive Council"s Standing Committee on Administration and Finance Committee and was the elected Executive Council representative to the Investment Committee for The Episcopal Church. She was a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements and the Chair of the General Convention Task Force charged by the 74th General Convention to prepare a comprehensive model for General Convention, including structure and agenda, to be considered by the 75th General Convention in 2006. Anderson was elected Vice President of the House of Deputies in 2003 and was elected President of House of Deputies in 2006, reelected in 2009.

Anderson was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School and an honorary Doctor of Canon Law degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

She has been married to Glen Anderson for 44 years. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.

The President of the House of Deputies is elected every three years to serve throughout the triennium. The President of the House of Deputies occupies a non-stipendiary position, and serves as Vice President of the Executive Council and Vice President of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS). She presides over the House of Deputies at General Convention, appoints clergy and lay members of all the Standing Commissions and Legislative Committees, and performs many functions of liaison, development and opportunity between conventions.

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 110 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer