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    Bishop’s Crosses to Bruce J. MacLeod, Jr., Jeannine Otis, and Douglas B. Stevenson

    At the 242nd Diocesan Convention November 9, Bishop Dietsche awarded the Bishop’s Cross to Cathedral Trustees President Bruce J. MacLeod, Musician Jeannine Otis, and SCI Center for Seafarer’s Rights leader Douglas B, Stevenson, Esq. The texts of the citations follow. Pdfs of the citations as presented to the recipients may be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the links in the left sidebar.

    Bruce J. MacLeod, Jr.

    Bishop Dietsche and Bruce MacLeod

    It was at this Diocesan Convention 145 years ago that Bishop Horatio Potter called for a charter to build a great cathedral for the Diocese of New York and established the first Board of Trustees.  In 1892, on the Feast of Saint John, ground was broken in Morningside Heights, and ever since, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine has witnessed the glory of God, been a center of culture and theological inquiry for this great city, and a convening authority for the Diocese of New York

    Ours is the largest Gothic building on Earth, and one of the three largest cathedrals.  Today it is but two-thirds finished, and the burdens of caring for this institution and growing it are extraordinary.  Twenty years ago, the daunting financial challenge and the demands of a building like no other, but no longer new, revealed that the future of the cathedral was wholly imperiled.  In the years since, Bruce McLeod, as President of the Board of Trustees of the Cathedral, has brought the experience of a life lived in professional building development, and the spiritual maturity shaped by his life and labors at Christ’s Church in Rye, to lead this institution through those challenges and into the judicious development of fallow portions of the Cathedral Close.  This has stabilized this church.  Bruce then leveraged those assets to build sufficient endowed funds to secure the life and continuity of the cathedral for the next century, if not indefinitely.  It is not too much to say that on his watch the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine has been saved.

    His leadership has bridged the temporal and the spiritual.  It has been the privilege of this bishop to walk a road with Bruce in which we have engaged what can only be called the reawakening of the love and shared common life of the Diocese of New York and its cathedral.  Within the extraordinary complexity of these two institutions, Bruce has brought voice and vision to the miracles and wonders God can do through institutional health and genuine Christian partnership.  When the day comes that Bruce lays down the reins of his leadership, he will leave behind a profoundly transformed institution, and the gratitude of a bishop and diocese, and a dean and church.

    Therefore, in recognition and gratitude for his witness to the spiritual possibilities of institutional leadership, and the costs and joys of that leadership, offered to the glory of God, we, on this 9th day of November 2018, in the seventh year of our consecration, do award him

    The Bishop’s Cross

    The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
    XVI Bishop of New York


    Jeannine Otis

    Jeannine Otis

    At the age of 12, Jeannine Otis appeared as a soloist with the Detroit Philharmonic Orchestra.  Four years later she was accepted to Wellesley College, as the first African-American to be a Presser Music Scholar.  She went on to receive professional degrees in theater education and performance.  On stage, and in theatre and church, she has partnered with performers across the musical spectrum from Kool and the Gang to Pete Seeger, to the Helsinki Philharmonic, to a variety of hip-hop artists to the Vienna Opera House.  Her book “The Gathering” described her work with incarcerated teens.  Through music she has engaged in ministry that has helped some of the least among us find their voice and expression and live into their creative fullness.

    For over 25 years Jeannine has been the Music Director at Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, where she once performed with Allen Ginsberg, and more recently for Rural and Migrant Ministry as well, and where she has explored the fullest range of sacred music across all traditions and offered herself to the exercise of shared congregational worship.  Among her offerings to that parish and the larger church has been her annual, heralded Good Friday Blues.  She has been recognized and honored by the City Council of New York and the NAACP and was awarded a Reggie for her performance in The Cradle Will Rock.

    In 2018, the Reparations Committee of the Diocese of New York inaugurated the first season of a three-year journey from shame to hope across the scope of American racism.  This first chapter has been called The Year of Lamentation, and through intellectual inquiry, stage performance, music and dance, these twelve months invited us to enter together into the hard truth of human suffering that is the fruit of racism, and to abide for a while in the stories of slavery and racial violence.  Jeannine has shepherded the musical expression of the Year of Lamentations and has brought the fullness of her own musical gifts to this exploration of the keening, broken heart; of the soaring, hopeful soul, as we have heard her at this convention.  It may be fairly said that she has been the soulful musical voice of Lamentation among us.  Indeed, New York Magazine described Jeannine as having a voice that can lead us to the Promised Land.

    Therefore, in recognition and gratitude for the sacred heart of her musical expression, and her commitment to the enlarging of the human spirit through music, offered to the glory of God, we, on this 9th day of November 2018, in the seventh year of our consecration, do award her

    The Bishop’s Cross

    The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
    XVI Bishop of New York

    Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq.

    Douglas Stevenson and Bishop Dietsche

    Seamen’s Church Institute is a ministry by the, founded out of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in 1834, Church to ships and the mariners who serve on them.   This ministry began as “floating churches” berthed along the New York City waterfront and grew to serve mariners out of facilities in Lower Manhattan and Port Newark.  Along with direct chaplaincy to mariners aboard the 3400 ships that dock in Port Newark every year, and the creation of training facilities for seafarers who traverse both the world’s oceans and America’s rivers, the Center for Seafarer’s Rights stands as the third leg of this ministry.

    Under the leadership of Douglas Stevenson, the Center for Seafarer’s Rights provides the only full-time, free legal-aid program in the world for merchant mariners.  The labor of seafarers, disproportionately drawn from the developing world, is among the most dangerous work in the world: hard labor in the wilderness of violent storms and roiling seas, and sometimes under unscrupulous ship owners.  And all of this happens far from the watching eyes of protective government and institutions.  SCI and the Center for Seafarer’s Rights are watching when no one else is.  When this bishop asked Doug many years ago what it is that he does, he described the experience of chaplains aboard ships in Port Newark shaking the hand of a seaman and coming away with a folded note in his palm: “Help me.  This ship is unsafe.”  

    For over twenty-five years Douglas Stevenson has given himself to the safety and well-being, and to the demands of human justice, for those in peril on the sea.  The Center for Seafarer’s Rights provides legal services of every kind to mariners in port, but Doug also advocates for and negotiates on behalf of seafarers trapped on abandoned ships, or subject to the threat of international piracy.  He was pivotal to the creation of the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006, establishing international regulations for the protection of seafarers.  His work has taken Doug from boardrooms to classrooms to the decks of container ships; to an eight-day journey through the perilous waters of Pirate Alley off the coast of Somalia; and to the chambers of the United States Supreme Court.  In every place, Doug is a voice for the voiceless, the rememberer of the forgotten.  He is the world’s leading authority on seafarer human rights.

    Therefore, in recognition and gratitude for his witness to the dignity of every human being, and the inalienable rights of the least among us, offered to the glory of God, we, on this 9th day of November 2018, in the seventh year of our consecration, do award him

    The Bishop’s Cross


    The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
    XVI Bishop of New York