RIP: Retired Western Massachusetts Bishop Andrew Wissemann

By ENS staff
Posted Aug 21, 2014
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Frederick Wissemann, the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Frederick Wissemann, the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts

[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. Andrew Frederick Wissemann, the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, died peacefully at home early on the morning of Aug. 20.

“Bishop Wissemann served the people of this diocese with clarity of purpose and compassion during his eight-year episcopate,” said current Bishop Douglas Fisher in announcing the death.

“A soft-spoken, self-effacing, scholarly man whose genuineness and sympathy were immediately apparent to all, he was, by gift and temperament, more inclined toward the pastoral model of a bishop than the lordly,” wrote diocesan historian Richard Nunley in Fisher’s statement.

Wissemann, 86, was elected as Western Massachusetts’ bishop in 1983, was consecrated in 1984 and served until 1992. He had been the rector of St. Stephen’s in Pittsfield for 16 years when he was elected and he also extended pastoral care to St. Martin’s in Pittsfield and St. Luke’s, Lanesboro, according to Fisher. Wissemann also served the diocese in the department of finance and administration. He was also rector of St. James, Greenfield from 1960-1968 following seven years with churches in the Diocese of Connecticut.

The bishop was ordained a deacon in May 1953 and was priested in December of that year.

“The life of any bishop cannot be adequately measured by a list of achievements, though Bishop Wissemann had many. The only measure is the standard of the Gospel and Bishop Wissemann proclaimed the Good News in word, in deed and in the example of Christian family life,” Fisher wrote. “Our hearts go out to Andrew’s wife, Nancy, who has been partner to his mission and ministry for 61 years, to his son, his three daughters, and his five grandchildren. It was my privilege to enter the sacred space of his dying last night to pray with him and his family in their vigil of hope and faith.”

People may call at Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield on Aug. 24 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The burial office is set for Aug. 25 at 11:00 a.m. in the cathedral.


Comments (5)

  1. Ian T. Douglas says:

    Bishop Andrew ordained me both deacon and priest. He was indeed a saintly, generous, and loving Christian leader. I will miss him.

  2. FRANK E. TATE, III says:

    I had the privilege of Bishop Wissemann baptizing our two children and confirming my wife in 1992, at Trinity Church, WARE MA., the installation of Alan Gates as Rector and our many conversations during his outstanding episcopate.
    During the years after his retirement it gladden my spirit seing him at the mother church in down town springield during Sundays liturgy. He loved good music and showed in his drawing near in the chamber during the organ vouluntay at the close of service.
    A man, not wanting too much attention yet, always had a word of encouragement saying “pray for More Grace” with a beautiful smile..
    I give Thanks, to Almighty God, for his life and work in this diocese , and all the people affected by his episcopate.
    Forward through the ages, in unbroken line. Marked has Christ own forever..
    Thanks be to God.

  3. Harry W Shipps says:

    Indeed a quiet gentleman of grace, honor and substance,

  4. Phillip Ayers says:

    I met the good Bishop at a Province I gathering in his diocese, around 1986. When I asked him where Unionville, CT was, I shall never forget his reply: “It’s the a-s end of Farmington! Sometimes it’s called Avon.” This was said with a droll expression that endeared him to me. The current rector of St. James, Farmington, was standing by us, laughing all the while. His diocese was truly blessed to have had him as their bishop and I’m sure Gordon Scruton, an old and dear friend, was grateful for such a good predecessor. I remember Bishop Andy coming back to work after his successor, Bob Denig, died of cancer after only two years as Bishop of the Diocese. What treasures we have in the episcopate!

  5. H. Scott Tonk says:

    Father Andrew “Andy” Wissemann was my rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Pittsfield, MA funder whose godly supervision I had the privilege of serving rom 1976 until 1979. I can personally testify to his saintly humility, his gentleness, his kindness, and his being a true model of the Good Shepherd – and when I later found out that he had been elected Bishop of Western Massachusetts in succession to the very worthy Alexander Stewart, I considered the Diocesan Convention of Western Massachusetts to have elected the best of the best. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, by the mercies of God, rest in peace.

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