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Church leader wants reforms after Md. bishop’s fatal crash

A leader of an Episcopal Church legislative body is calling for reforms to the process of electing bishops after Maryland’s second highest-ranking bishop was accused of fatally hitting a cyclist while driving drunk in Baltimore.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, presiding officer of the House of Deputies, wrote a letter Monday to deputies suggesting the “credibility of the process by which we elect bishops is in question.”

Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook was confirmed to her post despite a prior drunk-driving conviction. Information about that earlier case wasn’t available to everyone voting for a new bishop.

Jennings calls Cook’s election a “seeming failure of the process.”

Jennings wants the church’s general convention in June in Salt Lake City to form a task force to recommend a new process for selecting bishops.