My Diocesan Bishop, Colin Johnson, and his family were profiled in the Toronto Star today. Most people know that Ellen, the Bishop's wife, is Quaker, but it was interesting to read some of the details of how they worked out their religious differences in order to be married. It turns out they got a little help from their Bishop at the time, Ted Scott:
Former Anglican primate Ted Scott, a mentor of Johnson's, helped the young couple find their way before they got married.
One weekend in particular, when Johnson was doing a field placement in Chatham as part of his studies to become a priest, Ellen was visiting. Scott happened to be in the southwestern Ontario city for a confirmation, and offered Ellen a lift back to Toronto.
In the four hours they drove the 401, Scott and Ellen talked about life, love and faith, and the woman received affirmation from the very top of her future husband's church that she need not change for the man she loved.
"He welcomed her to the family and told her she didn't have to be something she wasn't," says Johnson, still in awe at the generosity of the gesture some 30 years later.
The couple was married shortly thereafter, in 1977 at the Quaker Meeting House in Newmarket. (source)
I think one of the most important role bishops have is being permission-givers, even when it's not apparent that permission is needed! The equivalent moment of parish leadership is probably simply staying out the way of a good work begun!