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Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick '81 Ordained as Episcopal Bishop of Hawaii

March 10, 2007

Rev Robert Fitzpatrick.jpgMarch 10, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "Hundreds of people are expected as spectators today when the Episcopal Church ordains a new bishop for Hawaii," the Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, a 1981 graduate of DePauw University, reports today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "The ceremony brings 15 other bishops to Hawaii, including the presiding bishop of the United States and prelates from Okinawa, Taiwan, New Zealand and the Philippines." (photo by F.L. Morris/Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Fitzpatrick, the fifth elected bishop of Episcopal Church in Hawaii, "has already signaled to the 8,600 church members in Hawaii that he wants them to be active participants, not spectators, in the years ahead," writes Mary Adamski. "He set that goal in motion earlier this year by giving them some homework. His list of suggested reading, published in the Hawaiian Church Chronicle, provides guidance from modern authors about making church activity a more vibrant and exciting experience and linking it to the world outside the sanctuary."

The 47-year-old Fitzpatrick, whose DePauw degree is noted, tells the newspaper, "I think I would describe myself as a coach. I prefer to think of myself as an evangelist, a missionary. That usually comes out as teaching, conveying complicated things in a way people can understand. My first question is East College 2005 4.jpgusually, What is the goal? Where is God calling us, and what are we going to do to get there?"

He adds, "The issue that mainline churches are struggling with is, How do you have an identity when identity is not based on 'you are in charge'? Mainline denominations are used to being in charge. If we can give up that notion, that we have to be important, then we can have fun. It can change the way we do ministry," asserts Fitzpatrick. "The point of church is to have fun, to be joyful. Those churches that will survive will be those who can speak the language of the people ... speak to the people's lives."

A religion major and Rector Scholar at DePauw, Rev. Fitzpatrick becomes bishop after serving since 2000 as executive assistant to the retiring Bishop Richard Chang. "He has been out among the 39 local churches as a mediator in congregations undergoing conflict or changes, bolstering clergy and reviewing ministry work in parishes," Adamski reports.

Read the story in its entirety at the Star-Bulletin's Web site.

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