With Heather Cook having resigned as assistant bishop, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland decided not to shy away from issues of addiction. In fact, they brought in a recovering alcoholic and addiction specialist as Cook’s replacement.
The Rt. Rev. Chilton R. Knudsen was named the diocese’s no. 2 leader last weekend at the Episcopal Diocese’s annual meeting. Knudsen previously served as bishop in Maine.
More than 20 years ago, Knudsen entered treatment for alcoholism. Since then, she has co-authored two books on addiction recovery, and become a go-to expert on “issues of addiction/recovery, especially regarding systems (congregations, dioceses, organizations) impacted by addiction – in all its forms — in clergy or lay leader,” according to a biography provided by the Diocese.
Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton has signaled that the diocese must undertake a process of long-term healing following Cook’s involvement in the Roland Park crash that killed cyclist Tom Palermo, and revelations that she was heavily intoxicated at the time of the crash, and had a history of alcoholism. With her expertise and history, Knudsen is positioned to be a leading voice in that healing, even as she serves in the very role that Cook once held.
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