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Jun 02, 2012 | Carol E. Barnwell

Jeff Fisher Elected Bishop Suffragan for Episcopal Diocese of Texas

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[Houston, TX Christ Church Cathedral]  The Rev. Jeff Fisher, rector of St. Alban’s, Waco, was elected to become the Diocese of Texas’ next bishop suffragan by lay and clergy delegates gathered at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, on June 2, 2012. Fisher received 230 of 391 votes cast in the lay order and 109 of 205 cast in the clergy order on the fourth ballot. 


Fisher’s election will be placed before General Convention this July for approval and the consecration is set to take place in Tyler on October 6. By canon, a bishop suffragan will serve "under the direction” of Bishop Andy Doyle and will serve congregations in the northeastern region of the diocese, with an office in Tyler. Fisher and the Rev. Beth Fain, rector of St. Mary's, Cypress, were the two candidates in the election.


“I want to thank Beth, her gifts in this diocese are outstanding and I’m honored to serve with her,” Fisher said in remarks following the election, also thanking his wife and sons for keeping him grounded.  “Tomorrow we will hear the story of the call of the prophet Isaiah. When God asked, 'Whom shall I send and who will I send?' Isaiah says, ‘Here am I, send me.’ Through this process, that has been my call. I thank you for sending me to Tyler, out to the world to do ministry in a new way.  Thank you," Fisher concluded.


“The Diocese of Texas stood to be the winner today, because both nominees are wonderfully gifted priests and talented colleagues. I am grateful to both Jeff and Beth for their willingness to be part of this process,” said Bishop Doyle.


The Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, bishop of Northwest Texas preached at the Eucharist preceding the election and told the congregation that the Church today has the opportunity to recover and reclaim the Gospel. “The new day calls for a servant church … [the world is] uncharted territory, like the wilderness of Exodus,” Bishop Mayer said, challenging the new bishop to “stand straight … next to the paschal candle in a dark world [and] sing the Easter proclamation.”


St. Alban’s has experienced an 85 percent growth in the six years since Fisher became rector “by making Jesus Christ the main thing,” Fisher said. Forced to close the school on campus, Fisher led the congregation to start a community center that now houses many outreach programs and hosts many community groups.  He is also supportive of Hispanic ministry increasing in the region of the diocese where he will serve.


In Fisher’s comments during the “walkabout” May 12 at Camp Allen, Fisher told delegates that he and his wife Susan had come to "be persuased" to place his name in nomination together.  “A bishop is called to look upon the people and love them, to challenge and encourage them, [and to remind them] that with God all things are possible,” he said. Following approval of Fisher’s election and the consecration in October, the bishop suffragan-elect will have a chance to do just that.