Chicago’s First Woman Bishop Shares Her Journey on ‘Faithfully Speaking’

Bishop Paula Clark talks turning faith into action, about hospitality and service, and a bit about Queen Bey.

By Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware

The Right Rev. Paula E. Clark is the first woman and the first Black person to serve as the presiding prelate in the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, having been elected in December 2020, and installed in September 2022. 

Bishop Clark is also the inaugural guest to speak about her faith on the first episode of Word in Black’s new series, “Faithfully Speaking.” There can never be too many ways to spread good news. And it is imperative people know the outstanding presence the collective faith community has beyond houses of worship. 

On our Religion and Social Justice beat, we’ve covered stories about people of faith showing up to demand justice for innocents in Gaza, protesting the conversion of libraries into detention centers in Texas, and demanding the attention of a political system that often overlooks the “least of these.” These actions are efforts to bridge the racial wealth gap and provide access to food and healthcare.

People of faith are often called hypocrites because they portray a less-than-gracious example of their love mandate. Bishop Clark and I discussed this and the frustration it generates when offering hospitality to the community. We also discussed making hospitality a priority far ahead of the necessities of ministry and endurance. We agreed it is our calling to allow God to bless the world through us. 

You’ll hear the Bishop’s “call” experience and a tad about Beyoncé, but I don’t want to give too much away. 

Stay tuned for much faith talk going forward, and let us know where your interests lie. Let us know who puts verses from holy texts into action. Help us highlight a best practice so others can adapt it to their ministry. We’re going to tell as many stories as possible in as many ways as possible to as many people as possible. Always. 

This story was originally published in Word in Black

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