[Diocese of Montana] The Rt. Rev. Martha (Marty) Stebbins became the first woman bishop in the 152-year history of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana and the 100th female bishop in the Anglican Communion when she was consecrated on Dec. 7 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Helena.
During announcements at the ordination and consecration, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said to a cheering congregation that Stebbins was the 100th woman to be ordained a bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Curry, who ordained Stebbins to the diaconate during his North Carolina episcopate, was the chief consecrator. Stebbins was formally seated at St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral the next day.
Stebbins is both a priest and a scientist. She served St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Wilson, North Carolina, for more than nine years before being elected Bishop of Montana by a special convention on July 26 in Bozeman. Before receiving her divinity degree in 2005, she earned a doctorate in veterinary bacteriology from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she has been an adjunct professor of veterinary medicine. She is married to Bob Gruidier.
The music for the day highlighted her love of creation. The opening hymn was “Earth and All Stars,” with two additional stanzas:
“Fish of the sea, loud cawing blue jays, lizards and snakes, loud roaring lions, sing to the Lord a new song!”
“Turtles and mice, rabbits and hamsters, dogs and all cats, loud neighing horses, sing to the Lord a new song!”
The closing hymn, appropriately, was “All Creatures of Our God and King.” A special setting of Psalm 100 by David Alan Earnest was commissioned for the ordination and featured choir, brass and organ. The Magpie Singers of the Helena-area Native American congregation drummed and played an honor song. The Rev. Jane Rogers Wilson of the Church of Our Saviour in Rock Hill, South Carolina, was the preacher.
Stebbins inherited her family’s deep abiding love for animals, resulting in a menagerie of many feathered, scaled and furred friends through the years. Currently, a dog named Cal and a rescue cat called Ruger share their new home in Helena.
– The Very Rev. Stephen Brehe is the retired dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral of Helena, Montana, and served as press officer for the ordination.