By Mark Michael
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, a leader among conservative Episcopalians, whose decade as the Diocese of Albany’s eighth bishop refocused its ministry in lasting ways, died August 4 at 82 after a long struggle with neurosarcoidosis, an inflammation of the nervous system.
Herzog entered and departed the Episcopal Church twice, and was, at the time of his death, an assisting bishop in the Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Living Word.
“He had a boldness and a willingness to take things on — there were not many sacred cows,” said the Rev. Darius Mojallali, a priest of Albany diocese who was a close friend of Herzog’s and served alongside him for nearly 40 years. “He made the tough choices to move a moribund diocese into a place of vitality.”
“We said he had five ideas before breakfast,” Mojallali said. “He would put his hand on your shoulder and say, ‘You can do this.’”
Herzog was born in Ogdensburg, on the Canadian border, and was raised as a Roman Catholic. He became an Episcopalian in his 20s, and prepared for ministry at Nashotah House. After a curacy in his hometown parish, he began holding services at the nearly closed Christ Church in Morristown, New York, where he was eventually named rector.
At Christ Church, Herzog combined Anglo-Catholic liturgy with an emphasis on the ministry of healing and a welcoming of charismatic gifts, an approach he brought with him when he became rector of Christ Church in Schenectady, New York, several years later.
He was elected bishop coadjutor in 1997 on the first ballot, and succeeded Bishop David Ball, a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic, the next year.
Herzog formed a Futures Committee early in his episcopate, which eventually recommended selling several diocesan properties — a summer camp, a retreat house, and a senior citizens’ apartment complex — and using the proceeds to purchase a 612-acre site in Greenwich, a village an hour north of Albany.
Opened as Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in 2007, the site included a healing ministry led by the Rev. Nigel Mumford, a former Royal Marine with a ministry to veterans. The diocesan camping and youth ministry are based at the center, and diocesan offices were eventually moved there as well. The Community of St. Mary’s, Eastern Province, which Herzog had served as bishop visitor, moved to an adjoining site after selling its convent in Peekskill, New York.
The decision was controversial, Mojallali acknowledged. “He moved heaven and earth to get things done. The Spiritual Life Center became a big focus, central to his ministry, and not everyone supported it. He didn’t allow preferences and sensitivities to get in the way, and that sometimes hurt people. He made enemies over those decisions,” Mojallali said, while noting that many also found Herzog deeply pastoral, a valued confidant and counselor.
Herzog moved the diocesan convention to a large lakeside evangelical camp in the Adirondacks. Rebranded as a diocesan “family reunion,” the three-day gathering featured talks by Anglican bishops from across the Communion and contemporary praise music, as well as workshops and a Vacation Bible School for children.
At a missions conference just after his consecration, Herzog met another new bishop, the Rt. Rev. Harold Miller of Down and Dromore in Northern Ireland. In a tribute for his diocese, Miller remembered:
“Dan came from the very Anglo-Catholic diocese of Albany in New York State, and I was from the more low church diocese of Down and Dromore, but our hearts beat with the same passions: a passion for the Word of God, for evangelism and for growing Spirit-filled churches. That was to be the beginning of a 20-year link which blessed so many on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Each bishop became well-known in the other’s diocese as a speaker at diocesan meetings and clergy gatherings, and there were many clergy exchanges, and one cross-diocesan marriage of two priests. Youth from both dioceses worked together on mission projects and attended renewal festivals together.
Miller, who visited Herzog a week before his death, said: “Dan and I never agreed about prayers for the departed. He used to say that I would be better to go first, because he would pray for my soul, whereas if he went first, I wouldn’t pray for his! Well, our last words were glorious. I said ‘Dan, this is the last time we will meet in this world; the next time we will meet in glory.’ ‘We will!’ he declared!”
In the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, Herzog was a conservative stalwart. At General Convention in 2003, he was part of a group of 19 bishops who issued a statement formally dissociating themselves from majority votes that had acknowledged same-sex blessings and ratified the election of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson.
One year later, with Herzog’s support, the Diocese of Albany voted to affiliate with the conservative Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. The diocese welcomed conservative seminarians from progressive Episcopal dioceses into its ordination process and Herzog served as a bishop for several conservative parishes outside his diocese, within the church’s Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight provisions.
“He had a lot of indignation and outrage about the fact that Gene Robinson had been elected, and he had a strong desire for the diocese to define itself over against that,” Mojallali said.
Shortly after his retirement in January 2007, Herzog resigned his orders and was received into the Roman Catholic Church, a path taken by only a handful of Episcopal bishops since the church’s founding. He was followed later the same year by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Steenson, former Bishop of the Diocese of Rio Grande, who later became the first ordinary of the American Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, an ecclesiastical jurisdiction formed to receive former Episcopal clergy and congregations.
Unlike Steenson, Herzog never sought priestly orders in the Roman Catholic Church, and surprised many by returning to the Episcopal Church just three years later. He was restored to episcopal ministry by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
“I believe I overestimated my ability to set aside a ministry that has been at the heart of our life a long time,” he said in 2010 interview. “The people, both clergy and lay, have been intertwined in Carol’s and my life for than more than 40 years. … We continued to support ministries of the diocese and to join in various spiritual activities. I tried to attend the funeral of every priest and was honored to preach at two of them. Carol continued to attend the Clergy Wives Retreat and each year Bp. Bill [Love] invited me to share in the priests’ retreat. In the end it was impossible to deny this was our family.”
Herzog served as an assisting bishop under his successor and protégé, the Rt. Rev. William Love. For a time, he directed Christ the King Spiritual Life Center and its healing ministry, and served as an interim in several parishes.
In 2021, Herzog joined Love in resigning from the House of Bishops and from ministry in the Episcopal Church, and he was received into the Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Living Word. Several diocesan priests and the Community of St. Mary, Eastern Province, also left the Episcopal Church that year.
“This is without any anger or animosity, only sadness on the parting of friends,” Herzog wrote, nothing that 2021 marked the 50-year anniversary of his ordination. “I am very grateful to Christ Jesus for the high privilege of serving Him and the Diocese of Albany, whose clergy and people I cherish in my heart.”
At the time of his death, Herzog was helping to set up an ACNA congregation in Utica, New York.
The Diocese of the Living Word’s bishop, the Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs, said of Herzog: “His leadership provided key direction to many men and women, clergy and laity, particularly in the New York region, as they transitioned into the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word. As his colleague and friend, Bishop David Bena, stated at our most recent synod, ‘Bishop Dan was fighting battles for faithfulness before the rest of us knew there was even a war.’”