Many have asked and perhaps several are wondering about the seating of Bishop Magness as a Canon at the Washington National Cathedral.
What is a canon and how does a canon function? An ecclesiastical person (Latin Canonicus), a member of a chapter or body of clerics living according to rule and presided over by one of their number. In this case, Bishop Magness, who is one of three Bishops Suffragan (Assistant Bishops) to the Presiding Bishop, will be seated as the Presiding Bishop’s Canon at the Washington National Cathedral.
Bishop Magness is the Bishop Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries of the Episcopal Church. Have you ever wondered to whom he serves as Suffragan? The answer is that he the Bishop Suffragan to the Presiding Bishop and is responsible to her for the ecclesiastical oversight of all Federal Ministries engaged in by The Episcopal Church.
You may or may not be aware of the fact that the Presiding Bishop has a chair (cathedra) at the Washington National Cathedral. The Presiding Bishop will seat (install) Bishop Magness as her Canon to function on her behalf at Services and events involving Federal Ministries. Bishop Magness will be involved in Services such as the annual United States Marine Corps Anniversary held at evensong on the Sunday closest to November 10. If there should be a national funeral for a dignitary or if an event is scheduled to be held at the Washington National Cathedral related to Federal Ministries, Bishop Magness will be asked to participate on behalf of the Presiding Bishop.
What you may be gathering from this blog is that Bishop Magness will not be the “Dean” of the cathedral nor will he be on the staff of either the cathedral or the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. While this position will require a minimum amount of time it will produce the added benefit of connecting all of our military, V.A., and Federal Bureau of Prison chaplains more closely to the Presiding Bishop, Washington National Cathedral, and to The Episcopal Church.