[Diocese of Southwest Florida] The Rt. Rev. Douglas F. Scharf was ordained and consecrated bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Southwest Florida on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Scharf will work alongside the Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith, fifth bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, until his retirement in December 2022. Smith has led the diocese since January 2007.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry was the chief consecrator. Joining Curry as co-consecrators were Smith; the Rt. Rev. Peter D. Eaton, bishop of Southeast Florida; the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio, bishop of Cuba; the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, bishop suffragan of Texas; the Rt. Rev. Brian R. Seage, bishop of Mississippi; and the Rev. Robert G. Schaefer, ELCA bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod (resigned) for the traditional laying-on of hands to consecrate the new bishop.
The Rev. Lloyd Alexander Lewis Jr., professor of New Testament emeritus at Virginia Theological Seminary, preached the sermon. Lewis is a mentor and longtime friend of Scharf.
“Be our bishop, but have the heart of a servant, and we will pray for you that you might glorify the living God as Jesus glorified his Father,” Lewis said. “We pray that you might find the strength to guard the flock God has committed to your charge with a long and fruitful ministry, and we pray that the Spirit which moves God’s people into that mission, a Spirit that we claim at the time we are baptized, may be awakened all the more in us through your presence and through your ministry among us.”
Nineteen bishops were in attendance, including the Rt. Rev. Teleforo Issac, who confirmed Scharf nearly 30 years ago. The service included a festive procession of diocesan and ecumenical leaders, clergy and liturgical ministers and brought together singers from 10 choirs across the diocese accompanied by organ, brass and special Communion music. Scharf’s wife, Shannon, also sang during Communion with a guitar and piano ensemble for the more than 1,700 congregants.
Upon his consecration, Scharf said, “One thing that is on my heart as we gather here in this place is that we gather with much joy and celebration as the whole people of God, but we gather first and foremost as disciples of Jesus. We gather as those who believe that the healing and reconciling love of God made known to us in Jesus Christ really does have the power to transform our lives and transform this world.”
The full service is available to view here.