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Bishop Vincent W. Warner (1940-2024)

The Rt. Rev. Vincent W. Warner, Bishop of Olympia from 1990 to 2007, died June 9 at 83.

He was born in Roanoke, Virginia, and was a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1971, and served parishes in Virginia, Michigan, and Massachusetts before becoming archdeacon in the Diocese of Maine. He was elected Bishop Coadjutor of Olympia on the first ballot, and he succeeded Bishop Robert Cochrane.

Warner was suspended from ministry in 2012 amid allegations of recurrent infidelity. He and his wife, Shen, remained married, and she helped honor his wish to remain at home until his death.

Warner “had a strong body that healed quickly, however, over the last years the various complicated balance of failing kidneys and congestive heart failure led to less and less mobility,” a family obituary said. “He was adamant that he would live out his days in his home. This happened because he and Shen agreed it would, and because her energy, patience, organization and disciplined care of him provided support, medically and emotionally.”

The obituary described the bishop as an advocate for ecumenism, justice, and Total Ministry. He served on the committee that produced the study document Continuing the Dialogue, which encouraged the church to welcome priests in same-sex relationships.

While Warner served as bishop, conservatives at two parishes within the Seattle-based diocese praised how he responded to them amid their disagreements with him on sexuality.

When Warner prepared for his retirement in 2007, the Very Rev. Robert Taylor told the Seattle Times about how Warner honored a fellow bishop. At a Washington Association of Churches dinner “in honor of retired Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, Warner was asked to give a speech, Taylor said. Instead, he got up and sang ‘What a Wonderful World’ and had the whole room singing along with him.”

Warner is survived by his wife of 20 years; a son, and three daughters.

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