Southwest Florida Bishop Dabney Smith announces retirement

By ENS staff
Posted May 11, 2022

The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith

[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith, the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, has announced that he plans to retire at the end of 2022. Smith, who has served as diocesan bishop since 2007, made the announcement in an email to the diocese on May 11.

Smith wrote that due to the difficulty of living with multiple myeloma, he will retire at the end of the calendar year.

Smith called an election for a bishop coadjutor in 2020, anticipating his own retirement. On April 2, 2022, the Very Rev. Douglas F. Scharf was elected. He is scheduled to begin work in the diocese on July 1,  be consecrated bishop coadjutor on Sept. 24 and will become diocesan bishop upon Smith’s retirement.

“My retirement at the end of 2022 will allow for Bishop-elect Scharf and me to have some overlap for several months,” Smith wrote. “I am pleased with the election of Fr. Scharf – he will bring a new focus and energy to the episcopate. … He will be a fine, loving, and thoughtful bishop for us.

“I thank you for your kindness, care, and prayers. You have given my life a tower of strength.”