West Virginia announces slate of candidates for bishop coadjutor

Posted Aug 3, 2021

[Diocese of West Virginia] The Rev. Paul L. Hicks, president of the Standing Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, on Aug. 2 announced the names of three candidates for bishop coadjutor. The elected candidate will serve as bishop coadjutor until the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer retires on Oct. 13, 2022.

The three candidates are:

  • The Rev. S. Abbott Bailey, interim canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Virginia in Richmond.
  • The Rev. Patrick A. Collins, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Easton and vicar of All Faith Chapel, Tunis Mills, Maryland.
  • The Rev. Matthew D. Cowden, rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in South Bend, Indiana.

The candidates will tour the Mountain State on Aug. 24-27. The bishop coadjutor election is scheduled for Sept. 25 as part of the diocesan convention in Morgantown. The ordination and consecration is set for March 12, 2022.

“This is a very sacred discernment process,” Hicks explained. The election is governed by the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. For our diocese, the steps to get to today started in late 2019 and involved many people, hands-on work, time and prayer.

“I want to recognize the work of the search committee, which was formed in March 2020, who led this effort,” Hicks said. “The committee did an incredible job to bring us this slate. Our church is so fortunate, and I thank them. And now we look to the transition committee to guide us through the next steps of the process.”

Klusmeyer, the diocese’s seventh bishop, made the call for the bishop coadjutor in late 2019. He has been the bishop since Oct. 13, 2001.

The Episcopal Church in West Virginia has more than 8,000 members. The first church in present-day West Virginia was established as a log structure that became known as Morgan Chapel near Bunker Hill in 1740. Today, there are 63 congregations in the state.