More than 700 people gathered to celebrate the consecration of Virginia’s first female bishop.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the chief consecrator. Co-consecrators were the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia; the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick Jr., assistant bishop of Virginia; the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, retired bishop of Virginia; the Rt. Rev. David C. Jones, retired bishop suffragan of Virginia; the Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, bishop suffragan of Connecticut; and the Rev. James Mauney, bishop of the Virginia Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The preacher was the Rt. Rev. Richard Blackburn, Bishop of Warrington, in the United Kingdom.
Most recently, Goff served as canon to the ordinary of the diocese, working with Johnston on such matters as the ordination process and disciplinary matters.
A graduate of Douglass College, New Brunswick, N.J., and Union Theological Seminary, New York, N.Y., Goff has spent her 32-year ministry in Virginia. Prior to joining the diocesan staff, she served at St. Christopher’s Church in Springfield; Immanuel, Old Church in Mechanicsville; St. Catherine’s School in Richmond; and St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock.
“I am thrilled to see Susan Goff joining the episcopate in Virginia,” Johnston said prior to the ordination and consecration. “She brings great wisdom, knowledge, grace and discretion to the position.”
As bishop suffragan, Goff will support mission congregations and will provide day-to-day oversight of Dayspring, the diocesan-wide initiative to bring vision and strategy surrounding the properties returned to the diocese following a recent legal dispute. A fluent speaker of Spanish, she will also work to support multicultural and ethnic ministries.
“For me, what the Kingdom of God is all about, the very visual image I have of it is of the heavenly banquet: men, women, children, people of all nationalities, languages, cultures, ages, genders, physical abilities, sexual orientations, the wealthy and the poor are gathered around the table,” Goff said in an article in the summer edition of the Virginia Episcopalian. “Since that’s what the Kingdom of God is, then that’s what the Church is called to be.
“For the Church to be doing the mission of Christ in the world,” she added, “we are therefore called to minister to and with a wider variety of people than ever before. We’re on the cusp of shifting from … ministry ‘to’ to ministry ‘with.’”
Goff was elected April 21. General Convention gave her the consent to her ordination and consecration, as currently required of all bishops elected within 120 days of the beginning of convention.