Dallas diocese announces 4 nominees for bishop

By diocesan staff
Posted Feb 3, 2015

[Episcopal Diocese of Dallas press release] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas has announced a slate of four nominees to stand for the election as 7th bishop of the diocese. The candidates are:

  • The Rev. Michael W. Michie, 46, rector of St. Andrew’s, McKinney, Texas;
  • The Rev. David G. Read, 49, rector of St. Luke’s, San Antonio, Texas;
  • The Rev. R. Leigh Spruill, 51, rector of St. George’s, Nashville, Tennessee;
  • The Rev. Dr. George R. Sumner, 59, principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.

More information about each of the nominees is available at www.dallasbishopsearch.org.

A petition process for submitting additional names is open from Feb. 3-16. Complete information about the petition process and the petition form are available at www.dallasbishopsearch.org. If petition candidates are received, they will be announced by the Standing Committee and added to the slate no later than April 6, pending the required background checks.

The slate is the result of a seven-month discernment process conducted by a Bishop Search Committee composed of lay and clergy members from across the diocese and reporting to the Standing Committee. With the announcement of the slate, a Transition Committee, also made up of lay and clergy members from across the diocese, implements the next stages of the election process, also reporting to the Standing Committee.

The nominees will participate in a series of open “walkabout” meetings from April 20-23, allowing members of the diocese to meet and learn more about the candidates. More information on the times and locations of the meetings will be forthcoming, along with additional information on each candidate, on the bishop-search website.

The election will take place Saturday, May 16. A majority in each of the two orders (clergy and lay delegates) is required for the election of the new bishop. Consent is required from a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan bishops and standing committees. The consecration of the bishop-elect is scheduled for November 2015.

The search for bishop began with the retirement of Bishop James M. Stanton, who served in the role for 21 years until May 2014. The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is home to more than 70 congregations in the Northeast Texas area, where the combined average Sunday attendance is about 11,300.


Comments (14)

  1. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    I haven’t been paying attention. Is it normal for a slate of 4 candidates to be all male and all white? Is that really OK? Does that represent the Body of Christ?

    1. Robert Lane says:

      Last time I checked, one’s sex and race is not a qualification for being a Bishop in the Church. So, yep, if the men are qualified, then it is ok that they are male and white. It would also be ok if they were all women, brown, black or green with purple polka dots.

  2. Randell Franklyn Busby says:

    Amen, Sr. Katsarelis!

    Imagine that, 4 white males are the only folks in the Episcopal church worthy of serving the good people of Dallas. The good news is that they’ll be able re-purpose all those white cassocks from the consecration.

  3. Lisa Fox says:

    I’d say it’s pretty normal for Texas. 🙁

  4. Grace Cangialosi says:

    Cynthia, I believe it is the norm for this diocese. They were one of the last to ordain women priests.

  5. Selena Smith says:

    I think what is normal and what is “OK” is for each diocese to follow its canons as well as the canons of the National Church. So the Nominating Committee has presented its candidates. Now what is normal and “OK” for that diocese is that nominations by petition may be submitted. Other dioceses have different canons about process, how the slate of candidates is determined, and that’s what’s
    normal and “OK” as well. That’s how this part of the Body of Christ is represented.

  6. Robert Allen (Diocese of Virginia) says:

    The announcement says that “Consent is required from a majority of the Episcopal Church’s diocesan bishops and standing committees.” but will this election not fall within 90 days of General Convention, and so trigger the consent process there? In that case, the diocesan bishops still vote, as usual (but at one time and place, so it’s quicker) and the consents of the Standing Committees are replaced by a vote in the HoD.

  7. Whit Johnstone says:

    Are any of the current nominees likely to change the Diocese’s position on same-sex unions/marriages? Or on the other side, are any of the nominees likely to try to pull the diocese out of the Episcopal Church?

    1. Doug Kerr says:

      The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is by definition a component of The Episcopal Church, and thus could not be “taken out of the Episcopal Church”.

      It would of course be possible, as happened a few years ago just to the west of The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, that the Bishop might decide to leave The Episcopal Church, as might some other church officials, and perhaps many of the clergy as well, and perhaps many of the parishioners.

      But the next morning, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (the real one) was as extant as ever, still a component of The Episcopal Church.

      And in that diocese, in Parker County, Texas, that next morning a brand new Episcopal Church held mass in fine style, not in brick and mortar now “occupied” by the former bishop, but in a beautiful school cafeteria, with a hawk circling majestically just outside the beautiful plate glass windows.

  8. Whit Johnstone says:

    FWIW, to me Fr. Sumner stands head and shoulders above the other candidates as far as qualifications go. He has a PHD and a MDiv from Yale, and his bachelors is from Harvard. One of the other candidates studied theology at Oral Roberts!!!! The other two have nothing more than a bare MDiv.

  9. Joan Haskell says:

    The slate of choices for the new Bishop of Dallas was passed on to me and I wanted to write you because Leigh and Susalee Spruill were at St. Mark’s in Jacksonville, FL and very dear to my heart. In fact, I heard him preach in Birmingham, AL when I was visiting and found myself tearing up. The woman sitting next to me leaned over and said, “he is going to be the next John Claypool.” So, I wrote his name down and gave it to the Vestry at St. Mark’s who was in the search process for a rector and he was chosen.

    I cannot say enough good things about both Leigh and Susalee. They are both wonderful people, have a great marriage and he would make a very special bishop. Actually, I wish we could have him!!

    I believe God gave him an escape to Nashville as our Diocese in Florida was about to have a split with the Anglican church forming.

    He and Susalee have had their tragedies. When they were in Jacksonville, Susalee’s step father, whom she adored, died in a plane crash. Then when Leigh and Susalee had gone to St. Georges, Lee’s older brother who was his best friend, suddenly died of a heart attack. I have not seen them in a long time but I can tell you that both of those experiences change people and they look at life differently.

    He would be a great bishop! Good luck to all of you and God bless you. I will keep you in my prayers,

    Joan Haskell
    904-384-6288 (h)
    904-705-6288 (c)

  10. Richard McClellan says:

    Attacking a priest is really low. These men do not owe any of us an apology. You wanna complain, take it up with the committee who selected them. God’s blessings upon whomever is chosen to lead the flock in the Diocese of Dallas.

  11. Len Bourland says:

    Well we’ve had a woman at the helm as Presiding and I don’t think that’s worked out so well (and I am female.) Lee Spruell is a dynamic rector in Nashville at St. George’s. Friends and former Vanderbilt classmates cannot say enough about his preaching and pastoring. Imagine a Dallas bishop who can preach as well as administrate. He’s got my vote.

    1. John Putnam says:

      Len, you should be ashamed of yourself for asserting that our Presiding Bishops downfall is because she is a woman. I’m not a fan of Schori either, but her sex has nothing to do with it.

      As for the diversity issue, I don’t care if the Bishop of EDOD is a white guy (I’m a white guy after all). The disheartening thing about these candidates is that Dallas may not have a Bishop open to having talks about LGBT inclusion for another 25 years. Right now there is no effort to include LGBT people in the sacramental life of the church in Dallas, and it’s very disheartening that the diocese I grew up in has made no effort to extend the grace of Christ to an oppressed minority group.

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