They shared personal tragedies, called on the church to defend the downtrodden and the marginalized, and defended their own answers to God’s calling.
Eight finalists for the next Episcopal bishop of Chicago tackled immigration, stewardship, gentrification and the full inclusion of gays and lesbians during a tour of the diocese that ended Sunday.
Traditionally called a walkabout, the tour gave parishioners their only opportunity to grill the diverse slate of candidates before the election at the annual diocesan convention in Wheeling Nov. 10. The new bishop will succeed Bishop William Persell, who has led the diocese since 1999.
With two Africans and three women, including a lesbian, the slate reflects the changing face of the church. It also includes two local priests, indicating that some parishioners want a bishop who they believe already grasps their needs.
But in a diocese that includes 126 parishes in the city, suburbs and rural regions as far west as Galena, even the local contenders learned that the needs vary and that it was virtually impossible to have all the right answers.