By Kirk Petersen

Two retired bishops passed away within days of each other in early October:

  • The Rt. Rev. Charles Farmer Duvall, the II Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast from 1981-2001, on October 8 at age 84; and
  • The Rt. Rev. William (Bill) A. Jones, Jr., the VIII Bishop of Missouri from 1975-1992, on October 11 at age 93.

Bishop Charles Duvall

According to the Central Gulf Coast website, Bishop Duvall’s episcopacy emphasized stewardship, church growth, Bible-based teaching, and compassionate pastoral care. “He affirmed the Biblical tithe as a minimum standard of Christian giving, also affirmed by General Convention, and he taught the diocesan standard of percentage giving to the support the church at every level.”

As he neared the end of his time in office in 2000, a handful of priests and much of their congregations began to leave the diocese and the Episcopal Church. “For several years before this, conflict had rumbled throughout the Episcopal Church over matters of human sexuality and, as some argued, faithfulness to Scripture. Bishop Duvall was known for his conservative convictions in these matters and also of his resolve to remain within the Episcopal Church and do his best to keep his clergy and people with him.”

He was laid to rest in his native South Carolina on October 13, at Old St. David’s in Cheraw. The homilist was the Rt. Rev. Russell Kendrick, the current Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast, which encompasses the southern third of Alabama and a portion of the Florida Panhandle.

Bishop William Jones

In the Diocese of Missouri, which shares the state with the Diocese of West Missouri, Bishop Jones is remembered for his pastoral presence and good humor.

“Following General Convention’s approval in 1976 to ordain women, Bishop Jones ordained the first woman in the Diocese of Missouri. He also worked to expand lay involvement in the diocese … and continued the diocesan tradition of responding to social needs. Under Jones’ leadership, the diocese began a new companion relationship with the Diocese [of Lui] in Nigeria.”

The current Bishop of Missouri, the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, said “I was fortunate enough to chat with Bishop Jones after my election and again after my ordination & consecration. I greatly appreciate his deep wisdom, profound insight and his willingness to support me ‘as his bishop.’’

Funeral arrangements had not been announced when this article was written.