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Jun 01, 2012 | Trey Yarborough

Seconding Speech for Suffragan Nominee the Rev. Jeff Fisher

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Christ! Trey Yarbrough, Christ Church, Tyler. 


At the outset, I express immense gratitude for our common ministry and these two faithful servants of God who now stand for election as Bishop Suffragan of this great Diocese.


Susan has spoken with clarity about Jeff’s call to the Episcopate as a colleague in ministry who has known him over a sustained period. I speak to you now as someone who doesn’t have that history with either candidate, but like each of you, has engaged in the serious work of discernment since the Bishop’s call for this election. Discernment over the election of a Suffragan who will have a special connection to that wonderful part of creation known as East Texas, but who is also called to serve our larger diocesan family and the whole Church.


That work of prayerful discernment and extended conversations with Jeff and others leads me to embrace his nomination on the basis of a conviction shared by many. At the core of his ministry is something essential to our future as a vibrant church and witness to the Gospel. That “something” is Jeff’s capacity to demonstrate the vital relationship between the transcendent values of our faith and the challenging realities of everyday life. Whether it’s a retiree from ExxonMobil in Beaumont or a career homemaker in Palestine or computer programmer in Marshall, he “teaches” that meaningful connection which people of every gender, age and culture yearn to discover. 


When I speak of this prophetic, teaching role of a bishop, I don’t simply mean Jeff’s gift for putting words together. I refer to the whole constellation of his gifts, two of which I will address here.  First, an uncommon capacity to listen at a deep level: the heartfelt and empathetic listening of a true pastor, which can be vastly more reassuring than the best-spoken words. And a second quality, equally as significant as the first:  a profound confidence in the Lordship of Christ and His larger purposes and plans for us; a Jeremiah-like confidence which gives Jeff an enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm for the Kingdom work yet to be done.


As someone who has been blessed to raise a family and live out my vocational life in East Texas, I truly believe that Jeff and his particular gifts are called to that place and that he will make a great Suffragan there. But equally important, he has the vision, the prophetic ear, and the untiring energy to join Bishops Doyle and Harrison in serving our larger diocesan and Episcopal family. It is with great joy that I second Jeff’s nomination for Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Texas.