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The Consecration of Bishop-elect George Sumner as the 7th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is scheduled for 11 a.m., Nov. 14 at the First United Methodist Church of Dallas. The venue was selected to provide more seating for the event. Please check with the clergy at your parish for ticket information.
Sumner formerly served as the Principal of Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto in Canada. As chief administrator he was responsible for strategic planning, encouraging future priests, stewardship, building relationships with other bishops among other tasks. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in western Massachusetts in 1981, and served in a variety of capacities including youth minister, missionary teacher in east Africa, curate in an inter-city Anglo-Catholic parish, vicar on a Native American reservation and rector in a small town. Sumner has a Ph.D. in theology from Yale, and has written a book about priestly calling and commentary on Daniel.
The search for a new bishop began after the May 2014 retirement of Bishop James Stanton, who had served in the role for 21 years. A 22-member search committee was formed to provide a slate of three to five candidates for the voting ballot. During a Special Election in May 2015, Sumner won the most votes from clergy and laity on the fourth ballot.
Sumner has been working in recent weeks getting to know the parishes and geography of the diocese and has already started to visit churches and plan for new initiatives.
A transition to new leadership inevitably brings new ideas and energy to a diocese, building on the legacies of previous bishops, said the Rev. David Houk, of St. John’s in Dallas and president of the Standing Committee. “In electing George Sumner, the diocese has called a pastor and an evangelist – all-in-one – to be our bishop,” Houk said. “It’s an exciting time for the Diocese of Dallas.”
The role of a bishop is as chief pastor of a diocese, meaning he or she is called to represent Christ to the Church and is charged with guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church. The bishop provides pastoral care to the clergy and laity, and is the chief teacher of the faith. The bishop also exercises a ministry of oversight and supervision in their diocese.
The service includes three consecrators including the Chief Consecrator, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Bishop Suffragan Paul Lambert and the Rt. Rev. John Bauerschmidt, bishop of Tennessee. Other officiating bishops include the Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, bishop of Springfield, the Rt. Rev. William C. Frey, retired bishop of Guatemala and Colorado, the Rt. Rev. Michael Smith, bishop of North Dakota.
Others expected to attend include the Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon who is the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald of Canada, the Rt. Rev. Michael L. Vono of the Rio Grande diocese, the Rt. Rev. Kirk Steven Smith of the Arizona diocese, the Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer of Central Florida diocese, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward J. Konieczny of the Oklahoma diocese, and ECLA Bishop the Rev. Dr. Kevin Kanouse from the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana area.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Andrews, Bishop of Algoma, Canada will give the sermon.
Lambert said he looked forward to beginning the journey of seeking God’s will with the bishop-elect. “I know our clergy and laity will support him in their offering of time and talent to the calling of God’s work.”
A public reception will immediately follow the consecration, and an enthronement is scheduled for 4 p.m., Nov. 15, at St. Matthew’s Cathedral also followed by a reception.
Diocesan Clergy Invitation
More details to follow in the days ahead.