The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


St. Chad

Few recount-weary American voters want to hear another word about ballot chads. But March 2 celebrates a saint who knew how to settle an election — St. Chad.

 Born in England about 620, Chad, like his three older brothers, became a priest. Chad was consecrated a bishop in 665 — under irregular circumstances.

It seems a fellow named Wilfrid was sent to France to be consecrated bishop of York. Rather than immediately returning to assume his duties, Wilfrid remained there for two years. The local king grew impatient with Wilfrid's absence, and Chad was called to replace him.

When Wilfrid finally returned to York he found Chad in his bishop's seat, so he went elsewhere. But soon the new archbishop of Canterbury discovered York had two bishops and invalidated Chad's consecration.

Did Chad fight it? No.

"If you know I have not duly received episcopal ordination, I willingly resign my office," Chad reportedly said. "I never thought myself worthy of it, but, though unworthy, in obedience submitted to take it." Impressed with those words, the archbishop properly completed Chad's consecration and made him bishop of Mercia.

The prayer for the festival of St. Chad summarizes his message for today: "Keep us, we pray Thee, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to step aside for others, that the cause of Christ my be advanced and thy blessed kingdom advanced ...."


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February issue


Embracing diversity