The Diocese of Western Massachusetts will elect a new bishop tomorrow. Prayers ascending for all of candidates and delegates!
Any election is noteworthy in the life of a diocese. One of the reasons this election is noteworthy is that no candidate from within the diocese is among the nominees. That means that by December, when Bishop Scruton steps down, there will be one fewer member of the House of Bishops with roots in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.
It’s a small diocese but when when you have a look at this list (recently posted on Facebook), you realize it’s a diocese that has punched above its weight.
The Rt. Rev. Gordon Scruton – Western Massachusetts
(served @ Grace, Dalton 1977-1981 & St. Francis, Holden 1981-1996)
The Rt. Rev. George Councell – New Jersey
(served as Canon to the Ordinary 1986-1995)
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence Provenzano – Long Island
(served @ St. John’s, North Adams 1987-1994 & St. Andrew’s, Longmeadow 1995-2009)
The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith – Newark
(served @ All Saints, Worcester 1993-2007)
The Rt. Rev. John Tarrant – South Dakota
(served as curate Atonement, Westfield 1983-1985, St. Paul’s Gardner 1985-1989,
St. Paul’s Holyoke 1989-1991 & St. Paul’s Stockbridge 1996-2005)
The Rt. Rev. John Bauerschmidt – Tennessee
(served as curate @ All Saints, Worcester 1984-87)
The Rt. Rev. Michael Vono – Rio Grande
(served as curate @ All Saints, Worcester 1976-80 Christ Church, Rochdale 1980-92)
The Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas – Connecticut
(Home parish Christ Church, Fitchburg)
The Rt. Rev. Andrew M. L. Dietsche – Bishop Coadjutor New York
(served @ Good Shepherd, West Springfield 1990-2001)
The Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld – Bishop Coadjutor elect New Hampshire
(served @ Grace Church, Amherst 2001-2012)
That’s enough for a baseball team, with one sub. (It’d be an all male baseball team, you’ll note.)
What accounts for this preponderance of Western Massachusetts-related bishops?