The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith has called for the election of a bishop coadjutor, who eventually will succeed Smith as Bishop of Southwest Florida. The diocese formally started the process with a vote at the 52nd annual convention on October 23. The search and election are expected to take at least 18 months.
“Mary and I have not yet determined a retirement date. That will depend on the length of time it takes to call a bishop coadjutor, my health and stamina, and the diocesan budget,” he said in his convention address. Under the canons of the church, a bishop coadjutor automatically ascends to the office of diocesan bishop when the incumbent leaves office.
Smith, who turns 67 in December, has served since 2007 as the V Bishop of Southwest Florida. He is an elected member of the Executive Council, where he chairs the Joint Standing Committee on Mission Beyond The Episcopal Church.
After discussing the pandemic as “a season of loss,” Smith said about the leadership transition, “This will not be a time of more loss. Rather, it will be a time of renewal. There will be ample time for more visits and reflections and it is my hope that soon we will not be separated by the coronavirus.”
The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr., former bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, has been appointed assistant bishop of the Diocese of West Texas, the Rt. Rev. David M. Reed, Bishop of the Diocese of West Texas, announced Monday, October 26, 2020.
His appointment in West Texas will begin on Monday, February 1, 2021. He was consecrated bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Texas in 2003, and later served as provisional bishop of Forth Worth from 2012 to 2015.
“Returning to the diocese in 2021 will make my journey in ordained ministry full circle. It was here that it all began, with Bishop Everett Jones’ affirmation of my call in 1963 and his ordaining me to the diaconate in 1966,” he said.
The Rev. Diana Akiyama has received the necessary consents from the majority of diocesan bishops and standing committees, and will become the XI Bishop of Oregon on January 30, 2021, succeeding the Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley, who has served since 2010.
Akiyama was elected August 29 in the first-ever online election of an Episcopal bishop.