The Right Rev. John Clark Buchanan, who served as Bishop of West Missouri for 11 years and later as a bishop in other dioceses, died April 15 at his home in Charleston, South Carolina. He was 86. Under his leadership, the Diocese of West Missouri expanded its Latino ministry, launched church plants in growing suburbs, and opened Bishop Spencer Place, an affordable retirement community in Kansas City.
A native South Carolinian, Bishop Buchanan practiced law and worked in the insurance industry before answering a call to the priesthood. He prepared for ministry at General Seminary and returned to the Diocese of South Carolina, where he served as rector of three congregations. He was serving as rector of St. Andrew’s, Mount Pleasant, a large congregation just outside Charleston, when elected coadjutor to West Missouri bishop Arthur Vogel in 1988.
After resigning as diocesan bishop in 2000, Buchanan served as parliamentarian of the House of Bishops for ten years, assisted in the Diocese of Texas and served as interim Bishop of Southern Virginia. After the Bishop of Quincy, Keith Ackerman, and the majority of the diocese’s parishes voted to leave the Episcopal Church in 2008, Buchanan was elected provisional bishop of the Diocese of Quincy. He shepherded the nine parishes that chose to remain part of the Episcopal Church through a time of discernment that resulted in Quincy’s merger into the Diocese of Chicago as its Peoria Deanery in 2013.
After a year of further ministry in the Diocese of Chicago, Bishop Buchanan retired to Bishop Gadsden, an Episcopal retirement community in Charleston, where he continued to participate in the community’s worship life. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Peggy, two daughters, and two grandchildren. A public memorial Eucharist will be conducted when social distancing restrictions are lifted.