Ed Bacon (episcopal priest)
|Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena|
|Church||All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena|
|Province||Episcopal Church in the United States|
|Predecessor||George F. Regas|
|Birth name||J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.,|
|Born||February 14, 1948
The Reverend Ed Bacon (J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.) is a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and has been the rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena, since 1995. Prior to coming to All Saints Church, Bacon served as Dean of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Jackson, Mississippi; Rector of St Mark’s in Dalton, Georgia; and Dean of Students and Campus Ministry at Mercer University.
Born in Jesup, Georgia, (February 14, 1948), Bacon is the son of a Baptist minister who was also the Superintendent of the Wayne County Schools. He grew up in a politically and theologically conservative environment, and, at the urging of his father, he attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia with the intent of becoming a physician. It was at Mercer where Bacon’s viewpoint of “inclusive compassion and justice for everyone” gradually developed.
In 1967 while a student at Mercer, Bacon had a chance encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the baggage claim in the Atlanta airport. That chance meeting inspired Bacon, who was already familiar with Dr. King’s writings, to reread the Bible through a new lens. It was then that Bacon realized the Bible’s focus was not about tribalism and separation, but rather it was about overcoming fear-based tribalism and separation with inclusion and universal compassion.
After graduating from Mercer in 1969, Bacon attended Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tennessee for three semesters. While there, he was introduced to the writings of Thomas Merton, a twentieth-century Catholic priest and monk who wrote about the true self versus the false self. Merton’s writings resonated with Bacon and helped him realize that a career in law was not his calling. Since dropping out of law school would invalidate his protected delay status for the Vietnam War draft, Bacon, who was morally opposed to the war, applied for conscientious objector status and was discharged after serving alternative service teaching children with learning delays.
After leaving law school, Bacon returned to Mercer and became the school’s Campus Minister and Dean of Students. During his seven years in that position, he frequently visited and taught at a nearby Episcopal church. In the process, he gained a deeper understanding of the Episcopal faith and connected with Episcopal beliefs.
In 1977 Bacon went on sabbatical from his job at Mercer and attended Candler School of Theology at Emory in Atlanta, Georgia where he studied the interface of theology and psychology. While there, Bacon approached the local Episcopal Bishop and requested to become an Episcopal priest. After serving as a youth minister at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia, he was granted admission as a postulant for the priesthood. Bacon graduated from the Candler School of Theology at Emory in 1979 and was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1983.
A progressive spokesperson on issues of faith and justice for all regardless of race, gender, faith, or sexual orientation, Bacon has been featured in national media including being a guest panelist in the Spirituality 101 segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show’s “Living Your Best Life” series. In January 2009 his statement to a call-in viewer that “being gay is a gift from God” received national attention. As a result, Bacon was invited to return to the show and soon became a regular on Oprah’s Soul Series on Oprah & Friends Radio, recording two shows a month for eighteen months.
Bacon’s stance on homosexuality and gay marriage has been well documented. The church he is a rector of, All Saints Church, has been blessing same-sex unions since the early 1990s, before his arrival. Prior to him taking his post at All Saints Church, Bacon had to decide whether to continue with the blessings. He decided in favor of it.
Additionally, to further promote gay rights, he co-founded the groups Beyond Inclusion and Claiming the Blessing (gay and straight Episcopalians organized on the parish and national levels to realize justice for gays and lesbians), and he co-founded ICUJP (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace) and Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative (AFPI). He also founded New Vision Partners, a non-profit organization that prepares youth to live successfully in 21st century interfaith environment, and he serves on Human Rights Watch California Committee South and on other national and community boards.
Awards and Recognition
In 1999 his alma mater, the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, named him their Whiteside Distinguished Preacher. His undergraduate school, Mercer University, conferred an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May, 1999; and in May, 2005, Church Divinity School of the Pacific conferred an honorary Doctor of Ministry degree. In December, 2005, he was named an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, Los Angeles by Bishop J. Jon Bruno.
Bacon has received numerous honors for his peace and interfaith work, including:
|Candler School of Theology at Emery||1999||Whiteside Distinguished Preacher|
|Mercer University||5/1999||Honorary Doctor of Humanities|
|Church Divinity School of the Pacific||5/2005||Honorary Doctor of Divinity|
|Pas Human Relations Commission||6/2005||Models of Unity Award (ASC)|
|Islamic Center of So California||9/11/05||Peace and Compassion Award|
|Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles||12/2/05||Honorary Canon of the Cathedral of St. Paul|
|LA County Children & Family Svcs||7/6/06||Svc to and Support of Foster Children|
|ACLU of Southern California||9/10/06||Religious Freedom Award|
|Islamic Shura Council||10/2006||Peace Award (ASC & it’s leadership)|
|Rainbow/PUSH Coalition||10/9/06||Acts of Courage Award|
|NAACP Pasadena Branch||9/13/07||Faith Award (Unity Builds A Community)|
|ACLU Pasadena-Foothill Chapter||9/23/07||Standing Up for Civil Liberties Award|
|Pasadena Magazine||12/2011||named a Pasadena Power Player|
|THE Magazine||6/21/12||named one of the 50 Most Innovative Men|
Bacon is married to Hope Hendricks-Bacon and they have two adult children and two grandchildren.
- "J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.". All Saints Church, Pasadena. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- Kwon, Lillian (21 January 2009). "Episcopal Priest Claims 'Being Gay is Gift from God'". The Christian Post. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "The Rev. Ed Bacon, Contributor". Truthdig. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Guests on Oprah's Soul Series Webcast Season 3". Oprah.com. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2012.