Robert Skirving ordained as bishop of East Carolina

By Paul Canady
Posted Nov 11, 2014
Robert S. Skirving offers a blessing following his ordination as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina. Photo: Richard Schori

Robert S. Skirving offers a blessing following his ordination as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina. Photo: Richard Schori

[Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina] The ordination and consecration of the Rev. Robert S. Skirving as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina capped off a celebratory weekend of festivities, bringing people from all over North America to Greenville, North Carolina.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as the chief consecrator. The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel (East Carolina, Resigned), the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee (East Carolina, Provisional), the Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin (Dominican Republic), the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley (Eastern Michigan), and the Rt. Rev. Graham Rights (Bishop of Moravian Unity) were the co-consecrators.

Several bishops lay their hands on Robert Skirving as he consecrated as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina. Photo: Richard Schori

Several bishops lay their hands on Robert Skirving as he consecrated as the 8th bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina. Photo: Richard Schori

The dioceses of East Carolina and the Dominican Republic have shared a companion relationship since 2010. Skirving, through his previous parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan, led many groups to the Dominican Republic.

Skirving says he hopes to strengthen the ties between the Episcopal Church and the Moravian Church in Eastern North Carolina. The two traditions are in full communion with each other. The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry (North Carolina) preached, telling the 1,200 worshipers that God’s mission for humanity is to tell people how loved they are.

The ordination and consecration took place at the Rock Springs Center. Clergy of the diocese had the opportunity to meet with the presiding bishop during a luncheon on Friday. She facilitated conversation about effective ministries throughout the church, including the Farmworker Ministry, a joint ministry with the dioceses of East Carolina and North Carolina.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori meets with campus ministers in North Carolina. Photo: Emily Gowdy Canady

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori meets with campus ministers in North Carolina. Photo: Emily Gowdy Canady

Later in the afternoon, students and campus ministers from Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministries at East Carolina University, Episcopal Lutheran Ministries at UNC-Pembroke, and Episcopal Campus Ministries at UNC-Wilmington had the opportunity to gather for coffee and conversation with the presiding bishop at St. Timothy’s, Greenville. The conversation included LGBT inclusion and each campus’ outreach efforts: ELCM at ECU sponsoring a partner program with the Muslim Student group, ELM at UNCP working with a Native American Literacy Project in their local Community, and ECM at UNCW working at the Farmworker Festival earlier in the fall. The students were deeply engaged by the presiding bishop, and she encouraged them to continue in their strong work of reaching out.

There was no day of rest for the new bishop. He preached and presided at three services at Christ Church, New Bern, on Sunday, Nov. 9. He performed three baptisms, 12 confirmations, four receptions, and seven reaffirmations.

Skirving was elected bishop on May 17 in a special convention. He was serving as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Midland, Michigan, when he was elected. Prior to arriving at St. John’s in 2005, Skirving served as rector of Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church in London, Ontario, Canada. His work in Canada provided him experience working in churches of varying sizes, from small, rural congregations to large, program-sized parishes in suburban and urban areas.

He has served on the House of Deputies State of the Church Committee and represented the Diocese of Eastern Michigan on the Province V Executive Board. He was a deputy to General Convention in 2012 and has served his diocese as dean and chair of its Commission on Ministry.

He was awarded a BA from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada in 1982. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Huron University College in London, Ontario in 1986. He has completed additional course work towards advanced degrees in religious studies and congregational development at the University of Windsor, University of Notre Dame and Seabury Institute.

He and his wife Sandy have two grown children. When he can, he enjoys reading biography and historical fiction. He has also begun to learn Latin American Spanish to help in the missional partnership with the Episcopal Church in the Dominican Republic.

The Diocese of East Carolina is composed of nearly 70 parishes in 32 counties and covers the area from I-95 to the coast and from Southport up to Gatesville. The diocese is home to several major military bases, a large Hispanic community, and small congregations. The diocesan office is located in Kinston.


Comments (9)

  1. Mark Hatch says:

    Sorry to be daft and out of sync with the current church: can you please help an old priest out with understanding ‘resigned’, ‘provisional’, et al, in the context both of East Carolina and the larger church? What is the dynamic here, and how are these roles understood, not least in the relationship with Bp. Skirving. Thank you.

    1. Chris Adams says:

      Bp. Daniel resigned from East Carolina to be the bishop provisional of Pennsylvania. Bp. Lee became the bishop provisional in the interim period between Bps. Daniel and Skirving.

    2. Daniel Stroud says:

      Bishop Daniel was called to be provisional Bishop of Pennsylvania, (provisionals just means interim), and so Peter Lee was called to be East Carolina’s provisional Bishop until we could call someone new. Resigned is a bit unfair, as Bishop Daniel did not so much resign as a Bishop as move on to new ministry in a new diocese. Bishop Skirving was called by the diocese to be our new bishop, and now will serve until he retires, moves on to a new ministry, or, God forbid, until he passes away.

    3. Ron Fox, BSG says:

      Fr Mark

      “Resigned” is the same as “retired.” As for “provisional,” in the Episcopal Church, a provisional bishop has all of the authority of a diocesan bishop but serves for a defined period of time. Quite similar to an interim priest. Hope that helps.


    Congratulations to the Bishop Skirving. He served the Diocese of Eastern Michigan well. We will miss his counsel and ideas and wish him Godspeed in his new role.
    F. W. Thewalt

  3. Andrew Anyanonu says:

    Mr. Mark Hatch, in his post/message is not alone in wanting to understand “resigned”
    “provisional” et al. in the context used. I too, will benefit from his inquiry. I heartily congratulate
    Bp. Skirving; I am reasonably familiar with St. John’s Midland and its mission/programs.
    Andrew Anyanonu [CCSP, Detroit]

  4. Raleigh Daniel Hairston,D.Min. says:

    In a few days, God willing, this retired priest of the East Carolina Diocese will have reached my 80th year of being upon this earth. Having been ordained deacon in 1970 and priest in 1971, after 43 years of ministry in the Episcopal Church, I too like Mark Hatch do not always understand the means, methods, moods, dynamics, and functioning of the same. So some of this I simply leave to “faith” and the saying or song which goes “cheer up my brother and sister: we’ll understand it all better by and by”. So regardless of roles, titles or functions and the like, etc., its great to see the Lord’s love, and work is being steadfastly carried on there in the Diocese of East Carolina. It is great also to note, in particular, the participation in the consecration and ordination of Bishop Skirving, along with the Presiding Bishop, both Bishops Daniel and Curry. Each have my best wishes along with all others present there. While living here in Decatur, Georgia, and attending St. Timothy’s Episcopal, I am glad to hear that my old retirement Parish in Wilmington, St. Mark’s is doing well, and to receive newsletters from the newly formed parish, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Carolina Beach, NC, where I briefly attended while retired from St. Mark’s and was still residing in the Wilmington area. May the new Bishop and people in East Carolina find much joy, peace, happiness and success in their work together in helping build our Lord’s Kingdom here on earth in the lives of many in pursuing mission and outreach to diverse peoples near, and far away in other places.

  5. Mark Hatch says:

    Thank you, one and all, for clarifications and insights. This is how I learn, and I appreciate the responsiveness.

  6. The Rev'd Carl Byrd, Sr. says:

    Bishop Skirving, my prayers as you begin this jounery.
    Former LEM called to a HOSPICE and PROSTATE CANCER Ministry outside the church walls.

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