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New bishop for Utah Episcopal diocese will speak to social justice issues

May 2, 2022, 12:30 PM | Updated: 2:57 pm
Reverand Phyllis Spiegel...
The Reverend Phyllis Spiegel will replace the Right Reverend Scott Hayashi, who's retiring. Photo credit: Episcopal Diocese of Utah

The Reverend Phyllis Spiegel was elected as the new bishop of Utah’s Episcopal diocese over the weekend. She comes to Utah from West Chester, Ohio, where she serves as a parish priest.

She has also served at parishes in Virginia, her home state. Spiegel was chosen by clergy and lay members who voted for three candidates for the position.

Reverend Phyllis Spiegel will replace the Right Reverend Scott Hayashi, who’s retiring.

“It’s a great gift to have such a legacy to live into,” she told KSL NewsRadio. “So I am grateful to Bishop Hayashi and all the great work that he did, and I will rely on him to help me make connections.”

Reverend Phyllis Spiegel to focus on social justice issues in Utah

Like Bishop Hayashi, bishop-elect Spiegel plans to be a leading voice on social justice issues in Utah.

“That is the work that is at my heart. My first parish, I did a lot of work with the unhoused and did a lot of work with mental illness,” she said.

“Right now, we are facing so many issues on the environment. We are facing so many issues on immigration, on healing past harms that have been done, and certainly, by the church, all of those social justice issues are right at the top of my heart. That’s our reason for being in this world,” she continued.

Utah’s Episcopal parishes have seen a decline in attendance during the pandemic, as have many other churches. Bishop-elect Spiegel hopes to address that as well.

“When we are bringing people back, it’s not just for church attendance that we’re bringing them back. It’s because people desperately need connection. They need to be rooted in meaning and purpose in their lives,” she said.

Rev. Spiegel will be consecrated as the new bishop in a service planned for the Capitol Theater on September 17th.

The Episcopal Diocese of Utah dates back to 1867, when Bishop Daniel Tuttle arrived in Salt Lake City. Today, it includes 22 congregations from Logan to Page, Arizona.

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