[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] Two nominations for bishop suffragan for the eastern region of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas were announced on April. 2, following the Standing Committee’s preliminary background checks. The Rev. Beth J. Fain, rector of St. Mary’s, Cypress, and the Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, rector of St. Alban’s, Waco, will stand for election on June 2 at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston. Both will participate in a diocesan-wide “walkabout” event at Camp Allen on May 12, open to all interested persons, beginning at 10 a.m.
The diocese held a completely open nomination process, explained Pam Nolting, chair of the committee overseeing the nominations and election. “We have made our process known throughout the country and have invited anyone who feels called to this ministry to enter that election process,” Nolting said.
Texas Bishop C. Andrew Doyle announced his intention to call for the election at the Clergy Conference in October 2011. At the time he invited clergy (along with their lay leaders) to begin thinking of good candidates and laid out his specific expectations for the bishop suffragan’s position as a regional bishop (headquartered in Tyler).
A bishop suffragan serves under the leadership of the bishop diocesan, who frames his or her specific work. Among the duties of the new bishop will be the boards of St. James’ House, the diocesan retirement community in Baytown; All Saints’ School, Tyler; William Temple Center, Galveston and St. Vincent’s House, Galveston. The new bishop also will be responsible for pastoral care of the clergy and be the diocesan liaison to the Little Church Club, Episcopal Church Women, diocesan Altar Guild, Cursillo, Recovery Ministry, Brotherhood of St. Andrews, Faith Alive, Restorative Justice and have oversight of the Bishop Quin Sabbatical Grants.
“Over the last six months clergy from across the diocese have been in conversation with their peers and lay leaders to discern their call to this particular ministry,” Doyle said. “I know that we have had at least nine serious candidates who, in the end, decided this was not a ministry they felt called to undertake.”
Some decided the position was not a ministry they felt called to undertake, whether there was a stronger call to remain in their current position or a decision based on the travel and time away from family that the ministry requires, he explained.
Fain was nominated by the Rev. James Derkits, priest missioner (St. Mark’s Between-the-Bayous, Houston), Cindy Angle (St. Mary’s, Cypress) and the Rev. Uriel Osnaya-Jimenez, vicar, (Santa Maria Virgen, Houston). Fisher was nominated by the Rev. Wanda Cuniff, deacon (Christ Church, Nacogdoches); Trey Yarbrough III (Christ Church, Tyler) and Clint Capers, (St. Alban’s, Waco). Elected delegates from each congregation and clergy will vote during the election. A nominee must have a majority from each order (clergy and laity) on the same ballot in order to be elected.
The nominees bios and responses to a series of questions along with updated information on the election are on the diocesan website.