D075 Give Thanks for the Remarkable Ministry of Marge Christie
Resolved, That the House of Deputies of the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church gives thanks for the remarkable ministry of Marge Christie (1929-2019).
For the life and witness of Marge Christie, a faithful and exemplary lay woman who, because of her grounding in the Baptismal Covenant and through collaboration, coalition building across orders, and determination, helped make possible the full inclusion of women in the life and ministry of the Episcopal Church;
For her willingness to mentor and her ability to empower younger generations;
For her leadership in The Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Newark, and the wider Anglican Communion;
For her work to bring equality and justice to every part of the Church.
Every member of the Church and especially every woman on the floor of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops owes a debt of gratitude to Marge Christie. She was a leader in the effort to get women seated as deputies to General Convention. She worked with the Episcopal Women’s Caucus and others for the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. She understood ‘intersectionality’ before the term was commonly used and was equally passionate about issues of economic justice, racial equality, LGBTIQ concerns, ecumenical and interfaith issues, socially responsible investing and liturgical reform.
Marge Christie was a 13-time Deputy. A list of bodies of the Church Marge Christie was part of covers every aspect of ministry. A representative few include Anglican Women’s Empowerment, Committee on Dispatch of Business, Committee on Full Participation of Women, Committee on Program, Budget & Finance, Committee on Social and Urban Affairs, Committee on the State of the Church, Committee on the Status of Women, Episcopal Church Women, Episcopal Urban Caucus, Episcopal Women’s Caucus, Executive Council, National Council of Churches of Christ, and Trustee of General Theological Seminary.
As Bishop Jack Spong, former Bishop of Newark, said in a film honoring Marge for the 2012 General Convention in Indianapolis, “Marge was one of those people who was free of power needs. She was able to give of herself and she was recognized as a leader. It wasn’t that she was pressing to be elected their leader; she just simply was their leader. She built up more leaders than you’ll ever know. She had – it was almost an entourage of Marge disciples, and she would empower them—she was constantly bringing younger people into leadership roles. There was nothing about Marge that wanted to keep the leadership within herself; she wanted to build up the next generation.”
When Marge saw a need she would take steps to address it. She was empowering. She taught generations of church people about Episcopal polity and practice as well as political strategy and tactics. She understood that ‘politics’ was not a bad thing and was in fact the work of the Gospel. She was a giant of the church who was a powerful witness to the innate dignity of every human being.
As Marge said, “There are so many things messed up in the world and in my eyes, the only body that can really make a difference and change those messes into better is the church.”