There’s something in here about women drivers or women preachers, but it’s sad either way

Oopsie! Didn't notice

Oopsie! Didn’t notice

Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop flees after hitting bicyclist, leaving him to die in the street. I don’t believe Episcopalians administer last rites, so that might be why she went on her merry way, but it’s also possible, given her past history of drunk driving and drug use, that she had other reasons.


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29 responses to “There’s something in here about women drivers or women preachers, but it’s sad either way

  1. Episcopalians do last rites. It’s in the Book of Common Prayer, under “Ministration at the Time of Death”.

    It looks like they’re going to do the right thing and remove her from ministry:

    “Instead, the diocese was doing the speaking for her and says they have suspended Bishop Cook because she still may face criminal charges.
    ‘There is an ongoing police investigation into the accident,’ wrote Right Reverend Sutton. ‘I will meet shortly with the Standing Committee to discuss ways we can move forward.'”

  2. Oh my goodness, I know Heather well. She served for years as an Assistant Minister at St. Matthew’s Church here in Bedford and we became quite good friends. She later went on to be the Rector of her own church in York PA then moved to Maryland. Just this summer we chatted for a long time as she was excited about being nominated for Bishop and laughed about the video she had to create as her entry. She won handily, in a field of many quite qualified men and women. Her father was an Episcopal Bishop in Maryland as well. She’s an amazing person. I am sitting here stunned, almost too afraid to read the whole article.

    • Sounds like she needs your friendship and support more than ever

      • Funny you should say that. I’m mulling over in my mind HOW to reach out to her. I can’t see that calling her would be comfortable for her. I suspect an email would sit in her inbox, or at least I can’t imagine that she’d want to open any number of email as her friends find out about this. That leaves a letter.

        The Baltimore Sun had very little about the incident, no photos like the Daily Mail. I hope she hasn’t seen the Daily Mail article. She has a very close family – siblings and mother. Her father died a while back. I trust they are her core support right now.

      • I typed a long reply and it went POOF, disappeared.

  3. Abdul al Kaboom

    I joined an Episcpal church for a while, they were having cocktail parties every weekend. Not much God stuff, just parties. So I quit and became a Muslim, now I am spiritually fulfilled, beheading, blowing up churches, etc.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been an Episcopalian for about 20 years and have yet to be invited to a single cocktail party. Maybe I just need to move to Greenwich.

  4. Anonymous

    You should have tried the Papes.

  5. Anonymous

    Manslaughter, jail, and a massive civil suit to wreck her and the Diocese.

    • Cos Cobber

      Really, the Diocese too? So when Joe Blow unionized plumber does the same, the victim can take down the plumbers union?

      • Anonymous

        likely they knew of her problems and prior history, but kept her anyway.

        • Cos Cobber

          By an extension of your logic, anyone with a criminal history, history of mental health issues or substance abuse is totally unemployable. Afterall, what employer could afford to defend major $$ lawsuits for employees actions off site if they are liable had they know about them? You sound like the kind of idiots we have roving law schools these days.

      • The suggestion does sound a bit overwrought, yes.

  6. Beadish


    So, here’s a question. Why do people consistently form such a ridiculously long line in the left lane on Arch Street when turning on to 95 North? The line gets so long that it backs up to the light before it and people end up kind of stuck, blocking that intersection. This occurs, of course, despite that fact that there is a second lane for that same turn, which remains pretty vacant. I just don’t get it.

  7. Mazama

    “In September 2010, nearly four years to the day before she’d become Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop, Cook was pulled over in Caroline County.

    Police at the time said she blew a BAC of .27, or over three times the legal limit, when given a breathalyzer.

    In her car, police said they found a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of wine, and a marijuana pipe reported”

    She didn’t take responsibility for the 2010 incident but managed to plea it down to below a criminal conviction. The Maryland Episcopal church – probably driven by progressive zeal to feel good about themselves by anointing “the first woman to be elected bishop for the Diocese of Maryland” – apparently ignored her obvious breach of moral standards. At the time Bishop Heather crooned: “I look forward to… exploring with you the proclamation of the life-giving Good News in a way that reaches across the generations.”

    I’m sure the young daughter of the man Bishop Heather struck and left to die like a unlucky squirrel beside the road will be comforted by her profession of “Good News… across the generations.”

    If the Maryland Episcopal Archdiocese had bothered to check their original instruction manual they would have discovered in 1 Timothy:3 that St. Paul lays out the qualifications to be a bishop or other church leader by specifying, in part, “Whoever aspires to be an overseer… is to be above reproach… temperate, self-controlled, respectable… not given to drunkenness…” and moved on the next candidate. Sad.

    • Sadly, I agree with most of what you said Mazama. With the exception of the female point. Heather would never have wanted the job had she thought she was chosen singularly because she was female.

      My children were shocked at this news, one even asked if it was a joke email I sent them with the link. Heather played a huge role in the religious lives of all of them, and was such a part of our family that they called her Heather when she was at our house, not Reverend Cook.

      I can’t imagine what would have gone through her mind to leave this poor man to die. It had to be fear, not that there’s justification for fleeing, but fear must have played a role in her decision.

      What are the chances of a FWIW post about a horrible accident be someone one of us knows well? I’ve been sad all day for the man who died, and for sure what will be the end of Heather’s career, but maybe a beginning of getting help, if that’s what she needs.

      • Anonymous

        She seems to have what is politely called “a drinking problem” and likely didn’t stop at first because she was not sober when she hit the poor man and didn’t want to get breathalized again.

        While alcoholism is a disease those who have it still have a responsibility to get help for it and not put others at risk. I know how you feel. I’ve had three women rectors and they’ve all been important to my family. One baptized my two children. I only mention their gender because I think it’s important that my kids grow up thinking of women being religious leaders as normal.

        It’s a very sad day for all involved. Unless she was driving a vehicle belonging to the Diocese I don’t see how they’d be liable.

  8. Slim Pickens

    Thank God it was a Light Catholic!

  9. Anon works

    Sad. If this woman were my child I would feel like a failure. You hope your kids will always do what is right, morally right, regardless of the consequences. For a member of the clergy to get it so wrong, is incomprehensible, and moreover, it is inconceivable that a dioceses would treat a woman minister differently than her male counterpart; she should have been terminated for cause for the prior incident. As a former Catholic, I vehemently object to the “forgiveness of sins ” approach to disciplining criminal behavior. As a relatively new Episcipalian, I hope she spends year after year incarcerated for what she has done- robbing a family of a father at Christmas.

    • I’m guessing you are not a parent. And if your attitude is as reprehensible as saying you’d feel like a failure if she were yours, may I wholeheartedly suggest you refrain from becoming a parent. Parenting is a very tough deal, adult children make mistakes too, go astray, make serious errors in judgement, but in my book, one mistake by them does not make me a failure, or the adult child either.

      What Heather did was awful and unlawful, we all agree. It makes no sense to the Heather I know. I can’t even wrap my head around her decision to leave the scene. But, in my core, deep in my heart, I believe strongly that forgiveness is about the most important aspect to life – not specific to any religion, but to values of how we all must live together on this planet. That you vehemently object to forgiveness of sins is to my way of thinking incomprehensible and morally repugnant.

        • Walt

          Dude –

          This is a tough one. I totally agree with Eos’s first paragraph. The second one, I am not so sure.

          Do we forgive Hitler? Do we forgive Charles Manson? Do we forgive all the Catholic pedophile Priest’s? Do we forgive the slums who cut off people’s heads merely because they hold a certain faith? Do we forgive your “writing”?

          At a certain point, I think people take actions beyond forgiveness. I am not saying this woman is like one of them. I know nothing about her. And I certainly can’t blame her parents at this point. She is 58, and up until now, apparently lived a very noble life. So the parents fault? Absolutely not. And Eos, I am sure you must be shocked by this, as anyone is when tragedy befalls a friend. So my sympathies.

          But 100% forgiveness to all? Do I have an opinion on that? ABSOLUTELY!!

          My answer is I don’t have the first damn clue. Maybe she was an early riser and liked to pack in the morning. And maybe she didn’t have any friends. I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the travel habits of Bishop Heather Cook . What I do known is Bishop Heather Cook was set to leave the Church at 0600. What time is that, Dude?

          Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer?
          JACK DUDE!!
          Your Pal,

      • Greenwich Gal

        Well put, EOS. It is what Christianity is all about, isn’t it?

  10. Anon works

    If, during your entire time as a parishioner and friend of the woman accused of vehicular manslaughter you never witnessed her alcoholism, then you bear no responsibility.

    As for your personal attack, let me elaborate:

    I firmly believe that at the hour of death we walk with God. It must have been terrible for the victim to be left in the street; maybe she could have saved him. Life is about choices and for her to make that choice at that time is sad. You might dislike my use of the word unconscionable, but I think it is appropriate. I thought most ministers felt the same way, and to not give assistance to this poor man at the time of his death is sad. Sad for any parent, sad for the family, truly sad.

    Her friends and Church can help her deal with her sorrow. Had the Church – regardless of her first DUI verdict – mandated rehab, she might not be the subject of any posting. No one wishes this on anyone, but there are legal consequences here. I am sure your thoughts and prayers will help her get through her grief.

    By the way, I think I said that you can’t apply forgiveness as a legal remedy for criminal behavior. Society references justice as a framework for determining culpability and remedy, so Maryland residents will determine what to do. Pray for them too.

  11. Patrishka

    Running over a cyclist remains one of the only homicides in the US of A that’s punishable by a slap on the wrist.

    This is a horrible tragedy for all… but most of all for the cyclist, who had just as much right to be on the street as anyone else.