RIP: The Rt. Rev. John Clark Buchanan, Former Assistant Bishop of The Diocese of Texas

The Rt. Rev. John Clark Buchanan. Photo: Diocese of West Missouri

The Rt. Rev. John Clark Buchanan, assistant bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Texas (2004-2006), peacefully entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, April 15, at his home in South Carolina, surrounded by his family.

John Buchanan was born May 6, 1933 in Joanna, South Carolina to the late Ella Virginia Clark Buchanan and Dock Jones Buchanan. He served in the US Air Force from 1951-1955 and then attended the University of South Carolina where he earned a BA, 1958 and JD, 1961. He returned to Laurens County to practice law. In 1966, he received the call to the priesthood and began his studies at General Theological Seminary.

Upon graduation from General in 1969, Bishop Buchanan began his ordained ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. He served three congregations as a rector. The first being St. Barnabas’ Church, Dillon, followed by St. Matthew’s Church, Darlington, and lastly St. Andrew’s Church, Mt. Pleasant.   

In 1988 he was elected as Bishop Coadjutor to the Diocese of West Missouri. He began his tenure as Bishop in 1989. During his Episcopate, Bishop Buchanan spearheaded the vision of what was to become the Bishop Spencer Place retirement community in Kansas City, Missouri. As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bishop Spencer Place, he led a five-year effort through property acquisition, design and construction culminating with the groundbreaking ceremony in 1995. He faithfully served the clergy and parishioners as the VI Bishop of West Missouri until his retirement in 2000.

In retirement, he continued to serve his dearly loved Episcopal Church in many different capacities; Parliamentarian for the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (2003-2013), Bishop-in-residence at St. Michael’s Church (2000-2004), Assisting Bishop Diocese of Texas (2004-2006), Interim Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia (2006-2008), Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy (2009-2013), and Assisting Bishop, Diocese of Chicago (2013-2014).

Bishop Buchanan and his wife, Peggy moved to Bishop Gadsden in 2014 where he actively participated in the spiritual life within the community. He was a devoted servant of God and loved the Episcopal Church with his whole heart. He spent much time in recent years using his unique talents to bring about reconciliation within the Episcopal Church. He believed that there is always opportunity for redemption, and that one can always start anew.

His faith in his Lord Jesus Christ was first and foremost followed closely by his love and devotion for his family. Bishop Buchanan adored and cherished his wife, Peggy. He dearly loved his daughters and his precious grandchildren who always made him smile. He also spent a great deal of time combing through libraries and courthouse documents looking for family records and history. He loved family reunions with his sister, nieces, nephews and cousins where he could share his genealogy findings with them.

Bishop Buchanan was preceded in death by his parents Ella Virginia Buchanan and Dock Jones Buchanan, his brother, Kenneth Orin Buchanan and his son-in-law, Charles Thomas Bryant. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Peggy Brown Buchanan and his two daughters; Mary Ryan Buchanan Aimar (Alton) of Savannah, GA and Margaret Clark Buchanan Bryant of Mt. Pleasant, SC; sister, Linda Buchanan Hardwick of Walterboro, SC; and grandchildren: John Clark Bryant and Mary Ella Bryant.

A private family service at Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston took place on Saturday, April 18, 2020. There will be a public memorial Eucharist at a later time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Bishop Gadsden Charitable Fund or Kanuga Camp and Conference Center.

Please pray for his family and friends in their time of loss.

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