Update from Bishop Johnson about Bishop Transistion

Greetings!  It continues to be my privilege and responsibility to serve as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee until my successor is elected and ordained to that servant ministry.  Therefore, I join you in finding myself in an in between place.  I still have work to do in carrying out my duties as bishop until my successor is ordained in 2019.  At the same time (and appropriately), I have nothing to do with this election process.  It is not mine to decide. By Church canons, this responsibility falls squarely in the lap of the Standing Committee.  So, I am watching the process unfold and become public in real time along with each of you.  With that in mind, I have two things to share:

(1) While I am not involved in the process of creating the election and ordination machinery, I am very pleased to celebrate the fine work of the Standing Committee in setting all this in motion.  In particular, I see in their choice of a diverse, committed and faithful group from within the Diocese to do the work of the Search Committee and of the Transition Committee to be indicative of this prayerful thoughtfulness by which the Standing Committee is proceeding.

(2) I ask you to join me as an another interested onlooker to pray for and support the Search Committee and Transition Committee as they take on the work that the Standing Committee is about to hand over to them. The Standing Committee President, the Rev. Gary Meade, reported to the clergy of the Diocese this past week and then to the Bishop and Council two days later when we gathered for that part of our shared ministry.  Gary noted that trust is an important part of this process for all of us.  In my office, I am aware of laughingly saying “We’ve never been here before” as our new motto.  While it is said in jest, it also bears a truth to not overlook:  We are all in this together. We are all learning as we go. We are all prayerfully discerning what and how God is leading us. And we need to all be mindful of this work as a Holy Work requiring what the Standing Committee has called Holy Conversations in order that we all may hear the voice of God speaking through our shared experience.  I am honored to continue as Bishop of West Tennessee.  Part of that is because I have a great deal of Holy Satisfaction in the work the Diocesan Standing Committee has already begun.   Let us hold up one another in prayer and Holy listening.  +Don

To see the letter from the Standing Committee announcing the search and transition committee, click here or view below. 


August 22, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Tennessee is delighted to announce that we have appointed the following individuals to lead us in the search and transition process as we move forward with calling our next bishop.

Search Committee

Mrs. Lavonnie Claybon Perry, co-chair, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mason
The Rev. Gayle McCarty, co-chair, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Jackson      


Mr. Ben Adams, Church of the Holy Communion, Memphis
Mr. Scott Haight, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Dyersburg
Mrs. Kathryn Jasper, Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis
Mr. Don Johnston, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Collierville
Mr. Elijah Noel, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Memphis


The Rev. Katherine Bush, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis
The Rev. David Carletta, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Germantown 
The Rev. Barney Gordon, St. James Episcopal Church, Bolivar
The Rev. Chuck McMillen, St. James Episcopal Church, Union City   
The Rev. Drew Woodruff, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Memphis

Transition Committee

The Rev. Sandy Webb, chair, Church of the Holy Communion, Memphis


Mrs. Dudley Davis, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Dyersburg
Mrs. Susan Kenny, Church of the Holy Apostles, Collierville
Mrs. Lisa Rogers. St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Millington
Mrs. Kate Trammell, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Memphis
Mrs. Candace Walsh, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Memphis
Mrs. Nora Witmer, Immanuel Episcopal Church, LaGrange


The Very Rev. Andy Andrews, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Memphis
The Rev. Richard Fletcher, Immanuel Episcopal Church, Ripley
The Rev. Amy George, Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Memphis
The Rev. Mimsy Jones, Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis
The Rev. Nancy O’Shea, All Saints Episcopal Church, Memphis

We are very grateful for all the recommendations offered to assist us in our discernment. As we considered the appointments we were guided by certain principles and constraints. First, each of the two committees is required to have an equal number of lay and clergy members. Second, no church may be represented by more than one person on any one committee. Third, each committee requires particular gifts and skills that need to be found in its membership. Fourth, the committees ought to represent, as much as possible, the diversity we find and celebrate in our Diocese.

We have prayerfully endeavored to honor as much as possible each of these guidelines. The result of our efforts are two committees whose members possess—by God’s grace—the talents and abilities to succeed in their holy work. Please keep each of the members of the Search and Transition Committees in your prayers.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you may always reach me by email at: BishopSearchWestTN@gmail.com.

Yours in Christ’s love,

The Rev. Gary Meade
President, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of West Tennessee

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