Western Louisiana announces slate of seven for bishop election

By ENS staff
Posted Feb 2, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] Seven priests have been nominated to stand for election to become the fourth bishop of the Shreveport-based Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana.

They are:

More information about the nominees is available here. The nominees will participate in a series of open question-and-answer forums March 19-21 and will have the opportunity to meet with the clergy and other members of the diocese.

The person selected will succeed the Rt. Rev. Bruce MacPherson, third bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana, who announced his intention to resign when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 72 in July 2012.

The election will be held on April 21 and the consecration is scheduled for July 21.

Since the election falls within 120 days of the start of the July 4-12 meeting of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, that body must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination.

The Diocese of Western Louisiana includes 48 parishes and missions throughout the western part of the state of Louisiana covering the metropolitan centers of Shreveport and Monroe in the north to Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles in the south. The cathedral of the diocese is St. Mark’s in Shreveport.


Comments (6)

  1. Catherine Warner says:

    “I certainly hope the people of Western Lousiana keep an eye on Fr. Burwell;…sounds only like trouble to me.”
    What kind of trouble are you insinuating? Is taking a dying parish of 75 and growing it to over 2000 members “troublesome” to you? I have known Father Burwell for 10 years now (as a member of his parish for six) and he has a consistent track record of church growth, increased ASA, and raising up dynamic church leadership. He has done this at Church of the Holy Cross (which is actually on Sullivan’s Island, SC NOT Isle of Palms, SC) where he has developed a multi-site congregation. He has done this throughout the diocese and beyond. He has been given two dying parishes over the past 8 years and turned both of them into thriving congregations while running his own parish successfully. He has raised up and sent numerous parishioners on to the mission field and to seminary. He already operates just as a bishop does building congregations around the diocese and raising up solid leaders of integrity and passion for the Gospel. I encourage you and all readers not only to “keep an eye” on Father Burwell, but I suggest you study him closely by researching the facts and decide if the Diocese of Western Louisiana wants to grow and expand Christ’s Kingdom or sit around “worrying about trouble” that doesn’t exist. If you want to know what his vision is for the diocese, I suggest you go to him and ask him. He is a visionary and I know he would love to tell you himself. He is a transparent, authentic well seasoned man of God.

  2. Robert Horn says:

    I am amazed at the intolerance of the Church toward the one diocese that is growing. I was told by a bishop that he would not allow anyone into his diocese who was from South Carolina, or a graduate of Trinity School of ministry…this in the name of “inclusivity”! Fr. Burwell is an exceptional cleric and visionary who has done a fabulous job growing his parish from a family sized chapel to one of the largest, most vibrant churches in the US. I can’t see why the larger church in the US is not studying what he, and South Carolina has done, instead of intolerantly dismissing out of hand the message and the model.

  3. Rob Eaton says:

    Yeah, Russ. Exactly what are you saying? Could you just come out and say it rather than a drive-by comenting?

    If you had one question to ask of Fr. Burwell during the question-and-answer forums next month, what would it be? Your “vision” question?
    Russ, we are past the fear-mongering. We are now in the “grow this Church” phase, or hadn’t you heard?

    Let me suggest a question that I might ask if I could be there based on a positive re-stating of your comment and fear:

    “John, you have quite a remarkable and nearly singular track record of growing churches, and bringing declining congregations back to robust health. Any diocese would want a bishop who could reproduce that kind of environment of joyful ministry of successful congregational development in their diocese as a whole.

    “However, most bishops find that the administrative demands, and various crisis moments, suck away the time they would otherwise want to give to both the pastoral care of the clergy, and their personal attention to individual congregations.

    “Would you share what you have thought about how to accomplish both the one and the other: to do what you do best, and to do faithfully what would be placed upon you as the ecclesiastical authority?”

  4. Russ Johnson says:

    I didn’t write this.

    Russ Johnson, Hawaii

  5. Richard Lamb says:

    Russ (or the one who actually wrote the comment).

    Why would you want to “keep an eye” on Fr. Burwell unless it is to see what he is doing correctly. Are you still so dissapointed that you could not stop the diocese of SC from getting a most wonderful bishop, who by the way, is keeping his word and his end of the bargain, that you will not feel vindicated until you torpedo another godly person like Fr. Burwell. I may not have known Fr. Burwell as long as some others, but I have served as his senior warden from one of the churches that benefited from his compassion, love and building the kingdom.


    Richard Lamb

  6. Jason Samuel says:

    I know only one of the nominees personally and know him to be a kind and pastoral leader. The people of Western Louisiana (my original home diocese) will be in my prayers for this important discernment in their lives. I belive this election will be very important for the future leadership and the vitality of the gospel of the Episcopal Church in this diocese. This diocese (like many) have seen times of vitality and decline. I believe it has, in general, been in decline because of what I perceive to be closed minded and fearful leadership. I know this is only my opinion. However, I believe the Holy Spirit is definitely at work, even if it is not in my choices. So, no matter the outcome, I will hold onto to hope and vision for the land of my birth.

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