Virginia diocese elects Susan Goff as bishop suffragan

By ENS staff
Posted Apr 21, 2012

Susan Goff

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Canon Susan Ellyn Goff was elected April 21 as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

Goff, 58, canon to the ordinary of the Diocese of Virginia, was elected on the fourth ballot out of a field of three nominees. Two other nominees withdrew after the second ballot and another withdrew after the third. Goff received 148 votes of 207 cast in the clergy order and 164 of 258 cast in the lay order. An election on that ballot required 104 votes in the clergy order and 130 in the lay order.

The election was held at a meeting of a special council for the election of a bishop suffragan at St. George’s Church in Fredericksburg.

Goff will serve under the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, who was consecrated in 2007. The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. “Ted” Gulick Jr. serves as assisting bishop.

“I am excited to be able to welcome Susan to the Virginia episcopate,” Johnston said after the election. “In her work as canon to the ordinary, she brings much wisdom, grace and discretion, qualities that I know will translate well in the role of bishop suffragan.”

Goff previously was rector of St. Christopher’s in Springfield, rector of Immanuel, Old Church, in Mechanicsville, chaplain of St. Catherine’s School in Richmond and chaplain of St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock. She also taught liturgics and trained seminarian supervisors at Virginia Theological Seminary.

She is a graduate of Douglass College, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and has been ordained 31 years. She is married to the Rev. Tom Holliday.

Because the election took place within 120 days of a meeting of General Convention, the House of Deputies and a majority of bishops with jurisdiction must consent to the election during their meeting in Indianapolis in July 2012.

Pending the necessary consents, the consecration is planned for July 28 at St. Paul’s Church, Richmond. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be chief consecrator.

The other nominees were:

  • The Rev. Randy Alexander, 45, rector, Christ Church, Pelham, New York (Diocese of New York)
  • The Very Rev. David May, 52, rector, Grace Church, Kilmarnock, Virginia (Diocese of Virginia)
  • The Very Rev. Dr. Hilary Smith, 43, rector, St. Paul’s on-the-Hill, Winchester, Virginia (Diocese of Virginia)
  • The Very Rev. Shirley Smith Graham, 43, rector, St. Martin’s, Williamsburg, Virginia (Diocese of Southern Virginia)
  • The Rev. Canon Sue Sommer, 55, subdean and canon pastor, Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City, Missouri (Diocese of West Missouri).

“We are most grateful to all six of the candidates for journeying with us through this process,” said Johnston. “They all displayed an immense amount of faith, dedication and good spirit.”

Information about all the nominees is available here.

The Diocese of Virginia, organized in 1785, is the largest Episcopal diocese within the United States, with some 80,000 members of 181 congregations located in 38 counties in central, northern and northwestern Virginia.


Comments (6)

  1. Liz Gober says:

    What a wonderful choice! Alleluia!

  2. martha knight says:

    How exciting to have Rev. Canon Susan Goff as the next Suffragan Bishop. Alleluia.

  3. Marius Hulswit says:

    Hearty congratulations to the Commonwealth of Virginia, to all Virginia Episcopalians, and especially, to Suffragan Bishop-elect Goss ! As one who attended Virginia Episcopal School from 1954 to 1958, went on to Hobart College in Geneva NY, was a co-founder of St. Michael’s Montessori School in New York City in the 1960’s, and then went on to become Executive Director Emeritus of the Episcopal Actors’ Guild in NYC , this is, to me, a manifestation of the wonderfully progressive Episcopal Church I have been following lovingly all of my life! What progress we have made since the days of The Rev. Roger Walke, briefly the Headmaster of VES, who invited his “Negro” fellow priest roommate from Virginia Seminary to attend his Ordination at St. John’s in Lynchburg, and was dismissed as Headmaster a few years later, very probably for having done so! The fact that Virginia now has a female Bishop coming up gives me great hope that my two grand-daughters, both baptized in the Episcopal Church at NYC’s ” Little Church Around the Corner,” and both now residing in Chesapeake, VA, will fall in love, during their lives, with the same wonderful Episcopal Church as did I !! God Bless us All !

  4. Pegram Johnson III says:

    In re Mr Hulswit’s comment
    In my day at least at VTS everyone had his own room, though I can not say definitely that there never were room mates. I suspect Fr. Walke’s friend was a hall mate. In re the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, some of their bishops made valiant and lasting stands against segregation.
    I have a hard time believing the suspected incident was approved by Bishop which would normally be the case in an Episcopal school. However, I certainly can’t say for certain what actually happened. (I wasn’t there.)

  5. Russ Randle says:

    This was a big day for us and a very happy one. Russ Randle, Lay Deputy to General Convention, Diocese of Virginia

  6. Elaine Hente says:

    Praise the Lord, Cousin Susan! I pray that you be showered with His blessings now and always!

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