Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bishop-elect Douglas John Fisher


On June 2, 2012, at our Cathedral in Springfield, the Rev. Douglas John Fisher was elected to serve as the ninth bishop of Western Massachusetts. Because the election occurred within 120 days of the start of the 77th meeting of General Convention in Indianapolis (July 4-12), Canon III.11.3 provides for the required consents to be sought from the bishops and deputies at Convention. 

What does that mean? In our polity, we need the whole body to affirm the election of a new bishop, since s/he serves the whole Church and not only the diocese. For elections that happen outside of that 120-day window, this happens through the normal meetings of diocesan Standing Committees: a majority of bishops and Standing Committees need to give their consent whenever a diocese elects a new bishop. Since, however, our election is within this window, our bishop-elect will be presented to the General Convention for the consent process. (The same process will hold for a rather large number of bishops-elect from across the country, including our own A. Robert Hirschfeld, who was part of our clergy deputation until his election to serve as the next Bishop of New Hampshire.)

Our clergy deputation from Western Massachusetts includes the Rev. Meredyth Ward, the Rev. Tanya Wallace, the Venerable William Coyne, and myself. Meredyth has been chair of the Standing Committee in our diocese, which oversaw the recent election. I chaired the Search Committee and Tanya is chairing the Transition Committee. Bill has been serving for the past fifteen years as our current bishop's archdeacon. So it will be a special honor for all of us, I am sure (along with the lay deputies) to be able to present Doug to the convention as we seek those consents. (I am not yet certain what day that is scheduled to happen; I'm literally taking this "one day at a time!")

Assuming that all goes smoothly, his ordination date is set for December 1, 2012, at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. 

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