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Feb 23, 2019 | Paulette E. Martin

Diocese of Texas Pays Tribute to Bishop Harrison’s Ministry of Service

Larry and Bishop Harrison enjoy the celebration in their honor.
 

One of the many highlights of the 170th Diocesan Council was the dinner honoring the many years of service of the Rt. Rev. Dena A. Harrison. It was a celebration in which her family, friends, bishops and hundreds of members of the diocese paid tribute, on Friday, February 21, 2019 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott.

It was a night of jubilee that took months of planning and preparation by the Bishop Harrison Celebration Committee comprised of the Rev. Genevieve Razim, Chair; Scott Bader-Saye, Ph.D.; Jill Boyter; Jolynn Free; the Rev. Eric Hungerford; Flo McGee; Julia Smith; the Rev. Sharon Turner, Ph.D. and Leslie Wilder.

 “It has been a gift to immerse myself in the study of her ministry and episcopate. I marvel at her strength and courage and am inspired by her faithfulness to Christ,” said Razim.

Many stories and memories were shared, including a video message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who recalled their time serving together on the Board of Episcopal Relief and Development. The Rev. Susan Kennard, Trinity, Galveston, also shared remembrances of working with Harrison as her Senior Warden at St. James the Apostle, Conroe in 1997. Kennard was moved to hear a woman celebrate the Eucharist.

“Of all the things that Dena said and did, the words that stand out so clearly in my mind were these words—spoken on her first Sunday in Conroe, ‘On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread. And when he had given thanks to you, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying Take, Eat, this is my body given for you,’” said Kennard.

Bishop Jeff Fisher and Bishop Hector Monterroso shared what they had learned from “Dena Harrison’s Book of Wisdom,” including witty one-liners such as “when your horse dies, dismount.” It was a moment that had the crowd laughing.

A video montage with pictures of Harrison’s ministry and interviews with Bishop Doyle, Seminary of the Southwest Dean the Rev. Cynthia Kittredge, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Jill Vassar, Ana Gonzales, Rob Radtke, Bishop Don Wimberly, Anthony Chappel and the Rev. Francene Young was presented.

 Bishop Andy Doyle also took the stage to honor his colleague.

“The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has always embodied the very best of people engaged in mission along with a bishop. The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has always embodied the very best of this Christian practice and certainly when we look at the work of Bishop Harrison with us, we are amazed at what we have accomplished together,” said Doyle.

Bishop Doyle thanked Bishop Harrison’s family, who have also played an important role in Harrison’s ministry of service.

“She and her family have made very great sacrifices along the way. They have benefitted from its grace, and they wear the wounds of its service. Bishop Harrison, Larry and the kids have all given much of the work of God in this particular place and time,” the Bishop added.

Bishop Harrison and her husband Larry were presented with gifts of driving shoes and a gas card to accompany them as they embark on their road trip adventure.

“I love you all. It has been a great joy of my life to serve as your bishop. I have been so overwhelmed with the power of this Diocese working together in every congregation,” said Bishop Harrison as the dinner concluded.

 

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