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B A Celebration of M inistry

ishop Don A. Wimberly's

Ministry Marked by Depth, Breadth
By Carol E. Barnwell
he had chosen the Episcopal Church
The episcopacy—the ministry of and that steadfastness enabled him to
bishops and the Episcopal office itself—is a navigate any challenge that came to him,”
primary instrument of Anglican unity. The said Bishop Coadjutor Andy Doyle.
Episcopal Church in the United States and “He knew how to be Episcopalian and
its place among others in the global Anglican he knew how to be Anglican. He had a
Communion rests squarely on the bishop’s very clear understanding of the catholic
shoulders “to sustain, strengthen and Church and knew living into our part of
restore” relationships among communion both could only enhance our ministry,”
members. he added.
“Bishop Wimberly brought us his Bishop Don A. Wimberly has been
steadfastness in faith through a sense that a bishop for more than 25 years and will
Continues on page 16
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I
can think of a host of names of I think,
those who have walked through however, what I
my life, each leaving an imprint. will remember is
Bishop Don Wimberly is one who has left how many folks
an indelible mark on my ministry. We said that he was
have worked closely together through, a real pastor
“thick and thin,” as they say. Only we can when they
measure that journey though and only needed him. I
the two of us can know the partnership will remember
Bishop Andy Doyle
refined out of two ministries that became the kind phone
intertwined in the life and history of the calls people recounted receiving from either
Diocese of Texas. Bishop Wimberly or Wendy when they
Bishop Wimberly and his wife Wendy needed a kind word or prayer. JoAnne and
gave me kindness without asking for I were certainly on the end of a number of
anything in return. He gave me support, those calls. I will remember the pat on the
and he gave me a partnership that can be back. I will remember the quiet request to
articulated as discipleship. That is, I believe know what I was thinking. I will remember
he promised to be with me on my journey how he let my kids climb all over him as if
as canon to the ordinary and to help me he were their own granddad.
with the trials that were job-related and I will remember Bishop Wimberly
personal. And, he would show me Jesus as a good man. I will remember him as
walking beside me along that journey. someone who makes me want to be a
He is a man of private prayer and better father, a better Christian, a better
quiet confidence. The Diocese of Texas Episcopalian. Just as he made me want to
and I have benefited from his leadership. be a better priest, his witness makes me
As an institution, we are better for having want to be a better bishop.
had him as our bishop. Creative ministries His life and ministry remind us all of
planted, institutions expanded and mission the influence, impact and transformation
reclaimed are all qualities he led us to that we can offer the Church and the
pursue as chairman of the board. Healthier world around us. We are a better diocese
clergy life, healthier ministries and healthier for having had Don as our bishop. May we
institutions will be his legacy as our pastor be a better diocese in the future because of
and shepherd. I have often said, “He kept the positive things he gave us and are now
us together when it would have been easier inextricably part of our story.
for us to walk away from one another.”
His commitment to be both Anglican and
Episcopalian was a right vision at the right
time, and it was truly inspired. This is the
legacy that is written in our Journals and it The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
will be clear to those who look back at his Bishop Coadjutor of Texas
tenure through the years.

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M aking H er Own Light

By Carol E. Barnwell
2007 interview, “but this [Texas] has been

W
endy Wimberly has had a the jewel in the crown.”
number of substantial careers Painting began as a hobby when her
including nurse, painter, children, Julie and Brent, were toddlers,
parent, clergy spouse and bishop’s wife for but later became an avocation. She signed
the past 25 years. Bishop Don Wimberly up for a class after attending an art show
retires June 6 and the Wimberlys, who met and soon began winning awards. Painting
in Atlanta, will have traveled full circle provided a creative outlet while her children
when they return this summer to live near were young and her husband was dean of
their children and grandchildren. the Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida. The
Throughout her married life, Wendy paint box and easel moved with the family
has managed to maintain her own space when Don Wimberly was elected Bishop
and create her own light as no doubt, of Lexington. “I loved to paint in the
she will continue to do in retirement. A afternoon and would put the paper on the
registered nurse by training, Wendy has kitchen table and work on pieces while I
been a prenatal loss counselor, taught cooked dinner,” she said. By this time, the
Lamaze, parenting classes and has worked children were teenagers and Wendy worked
extensively on women’s health issues. She full-time in nursing.
is also an accomplished artist. While in Lexington, Wendy taught
The Wimberlys met in Atlanta when Lamaze and parenting classes. “I wanted
she worked at Emory and the bishop young mothers to know that you need to
worked for Kerr-McGee. They were married love yourself and love your partner, even
18 months later, and have lived in Atlanta, when you are [consumed] with raising
Louisiana, New York, Kansas, Kentucky kids. It’s not easy to feel good about
and Texas during their careers. yourself when you have throw up on you,”
“We’ve seen a lot,” Wendy said in a she said.
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Wendy was diagnosed with breast
cancer during a regular mammogram
during that time. “It was the size of a speck
of pepper,” she said, “and would have been
eight years before I’d have found it in a self
exam. I can’t tell you how important it is
to have these regular exams!”
The cancer diagnosis launched Wendy
on a counseling career utilizing all of her

With Mayor Bill White
experience for young women and families.
“I really went to work and wanted to make
a difference. I felt an urgency like never

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before,” she said. She counseled women
who had been diagnosed with cancer or
who had had hysterectomies. She used her
personal history to teach them to care for
themselves and to be their own advocates. endy has been the
Many who sought her counsel never knew most amazing bonus in Don’s
she was a bishop’s wife. ministry, she has been such a
After Bishop Wimberly was a
candidate for presiding bishop at the supporter of all of us, and she
1997 General Convention, the Wimberlys has worked sacrificially herself
left Lexington and moved to Tyler where to support the ministry of the
Bishop Wimberly served as assistant bishop
for three years before being elected Bishop diocese, she has been a friend,
of Texas in 2002. a companion.
Over the years, Wendy has taught
­ Bishop Suffragan

spirituality and art workshops at Kanuga, an The Rt. Rev. Dena A. Harrison
Episcopal Conference Center in Asheville,
North Carolina. Most recently, she was a 2. “Sometimes [paintings] flow right out of
featured artist at the Episcopal Church and the brush, sometimes not. You have to rely
Visual Arts Show at St. Martin’s, May 1 & on God to help you, and life experiences to
fill in the space.”
“I’m very humbled by our ministry.
I’ve been right there all along but I’ve had to
recreate myself [many] times. Every move
I had to start over. It’s really important that
every person in a relationship feels they
are contributing on his or her own. You
have to get out and make your own light,”
Wendy said.
“With most of the things I’ve done,
people wouldn’t believe I’m a bishop’s
wife,” said the grandmother of two, nurse,
painter, teacher, advocate and encourager.
She is sure to shine in retirement.
Wendy Wimberly with grandson James.
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Will you boldly proclaim and interpret the
Gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and
stirring up the conscience of your people?
I will, in the power of the Spirit. BCP, page 518

Bishop Wimberly at his installation service as the Eighth Bishop of Texas, 2003.

I didn’t know Bishop Wimberly very
well until the treasurer of the diocese
resigned. The bishop and I had not had a
into a number of situations that were not of
his own making and he has handled them
all with grace, humor and forthrightness.
lot of contact but he immediately asked me His hallmark has been transparency and
to act as the “interim treasurer.” I was a bit long after he retires, the Diocese of Texas
taken aback by his confidence and more will be benefitting from the fresh view he
than a little awed to be constantly with him has brought to his Episcopacy.
in meetings and ministry. One day while walking through the
I have grown to know that he is a man mall at lunch I saw in a shop window an
of deep faith who believes to the core of his LSU National Football Championship
being in the Baptismal Covenant. He works coffee cup. I went in and bought it on a lark
everyday to build the Church and bring and gave it to Bishop Wimberly. Nothing
Christ to the world. At the same time, he is could have pleased him more. He treasures
a great deal of fun to be around. He enjoys that coffee cup and drinks his coffee from it
his work and does what he can to ensure that every morning.
the people he works with enjoy theirs. He is Bob Biehl
always available and willing to help with the Treasurer of the Diocese of Texas
issues that confront us. He has been put
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Will you accept this call and fulfill this
trust in obedience to Christ?
I will obey Christ,
and will serve in his name. BCP, page 518

I
first met Don Wimberly twenty-
seven years ago in a group of
mutual clergy friends on a
retreat in North Carolina.  My first
impression of him was of a man of
great warmth, passionate feeling,
deep faith and bright mind whom I
liked a lot.  I still think of him that
way today, but as the years passed
I learned that his warmth, passion
and faith come from a big heart.  He
has a big heart for God, for those
A final blessing

who need God, for those who serve
God, and for God’s Church.  That
heart combined with his keen mind
produce the compassionate wisdom
that is characteristic of him and of
all true leaders. While his hand has
been on the tiller of our diocese, he
has steered our ship safely through
the storms that have raged in the
American Church and the Anglican
Communion and brought us into
port as the strongest diocese in the
US.  As he hands over the ship to a
new Captain, I, in admiration and
gratitude, salute Bishop Wimberly
and thank him for his fine leadership
and care for us.   

The Rev. Larry Gipson (ret.)

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A F ew Words with
Bishop Don A. Wimberly
Carol E. Barnwell: You’ve been a you could go to almost any place in the world
bishop for 25 years. What about being bishop and find people who were part of the same,
do most people not understand? larger communion of churches (the Anglican
Don A. Wimberly: I am continually Communion). As wonderful as the Episcopal
Church is, it is important to know we are one
amazed at some of the questions. Many people
ask me if I have a church. They don’t understand part of a whole lot more people. We are looking
the structure of the Episcopal Church. The at establishing relationships with several dioceses
episcopacy (having bishops) is one of the things outside the Diocese of Texas. Companion
that sets our denomination apart. I am the chief relationships will help us understand our
pastor of our clergy. I am to protect the “faith, relationship within the Communion but it's
unity, and discipline of the Church.” I ordain critical that these relationships have to be two-
priests and deacons, confirm new members way streets. We want these relationships to be
of the Church and share in the “leadership of pilgrimages not only to help, but get to know
the Church throughout the world.” My official our fellow Anglicans.
“see” is the Cathedral but I oversee all our
congregations. CEB: How do you see your legacy in the
Diocese of Texas?
CEB: How would you explain The Episcopal DAW: I have tried to focus on the issue of
Church to a visitor? leadership. I’m proud of being part of a talented
DAW: First, our Book of Common Prayer team of people who developed the Iona School
for Ministry. I had to do some cleanup, get
defines the ministers of the Church as “lay
persons, bishops, priests, and deacons” in the some internal controls in place following a
Catechism on page 855. The ordained orders large embezzlement. We’ve accomplished this.
of ministry—deacons, priests and bishops— I wanted to reconnect our Diocesan Center
each have specific duties. Lay persons also with the Cathedral so we sold the former office
have a specific ministry to represent Christ building and built a new one adjacent to Christ
according to their gifts and to participate in Church Cathedral in downtown Houston.
the transformation of the world around them We do what we do because we are part of a
through their particular ministry. worshipping community and being here helps
The episcopacy (bishops) is one of the maintain that relationship and provides a
things that makes us unique. We elect bishops witness to those around us.
to be in charge of dioceses, which form the I’ve also worked to attract younger clergy.
main judicatories* in our Church. At our best, We have doubled the number of clergy under
our diocese is a family of 154 congregations that 40 in the diocese. I think that is important for
act as One Church. Our vision of One Church the future of the Church. Another thing that
is what I would love to see people really take has been a privilege for me as bishop is being
to heart. a part of the world-class medical community
of this city. A new vision and mission for St.
Luke’s Episcopal Health System is to have
CEB: What does it mean to be Anglican? neighborhood locations and that is going very
DAW: One of the things that drew me to the well. I’m very excited about that. And finally,
Episcopal Church is that it’s part of a worldwide I think the Seminary of the Southwest is in a
communion. That was exciting to me. It meant healthier place. We have a new dean and have
that everyone didn’t look the same. It meant completed some big capital improvements.
I’m really proud I was a part of a team that did
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that.

CEB: What has been your
contribution to the House of Bishops?
DAW: I believe I’ve been able to
offer some expertise. Most of my work in
the House of Bishops has been through
almost 12 years on the committee for
Program, Budget and Finance. I’ve also
been a member of the Executive Council
of the Episcopal Church. As one of the
most senior members today, I have been
Bishop Don A. Wimberly on his
able to offer my advice on some strategic
way to being seated as the Eighth
issues. Bishop of Texas. Bishop Dena
Harrison (L) served as chaplain.
CEB: What is one of your most vivid memories of being
a bishop?
DAW: One of the bishop’s roles is to connect you to the O ne of the things that has
brought such strength to
Bishop Wimberly's ministry is
larger Church, the universal Church. One of the greatest
things about being a bishop on the larger scale is representing his familiarity with so many
the unity that the office stands for. Sitting at the Lambeth dimensions of the church. He
Conference* last summer as the Bishop of Texas is one of the offers a wisdom born out of long
greatest compliments I could have. Not only did I represent experience with and commitment
one of the most strategic and best dioceses in this Church, I to all sorts of ministries. We have
sat with bishops from all over the world. been blessed with his perspective
And I love confirmations. A profoundly important in planning, implementing and
thing in my ministry as bishop is the great privilege I’ve had evaluating all sorts of activities in
laying my hands on the heads of many people to confirm the course of our work.
them into this Church. To be part of someone’s journey of
Don and Wendy minister out
faith is a great privilege.
To ordain deacons and clergy, to raise people up for the
of the great strength of their love
ordained ministry is a great privilege. Through the gift given for God and one another. They are
to me by my ordination as a bishop, I’m able to pass that gift inspiring in their commitments
on in ordaining clergy and being part of consecrating new because they allow their trust in
bishops. It touches you to historic flow of the Church. God to guide them day by day.
They meet difficulties large and
CEB: Looking forward? small with hope, confidence, and
DAW: I’m looking forward to spending a little time with a wonderful sense of humor. This
my family--to being involved in my grandchildren’s lives in a kind of faith is an example to us
hands on way. And spending time with Wendy after all these all and a joy to witness.
years [on the road]. One of the rarest gifts in life
is the gift of friendship. Larry and
*The term judicatory refers to any regional, connectional I have been blessed to receive that
office of a denominational structure.  This office is responsible gift from Don and Wendy. They
for the governance of and providing resources to its member are both valiant friends whom we
congregations. 
will always treasure.
**Every 10 years bishops from throughout the Anglican The Rt. Rev. Dena A. Harrison
Bishop Suffragan
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As a chief priest and pastor, will you encourage and support all
baptized people in their gifts and ministries, nourish them from
the riches of God's grace, pray for them without ceasing, and
celebrate with them the sacraments of our redemption?
I will, in the name of Christ, the Shepherd
and Bishop of our souls. BCP, page 518

Bishop Don A. Wimberly at the 160th Council opening Eucharist, Houston, February 13, 2009.

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I
believe that the diaconate Bishop
Wimberly introduced to this
diocese will have substantial impact
on the Church’s servant ministries, an
impact which will grow and become
increasingly evident as the years go
by. Potentially even more important is
the bi-vocational priesthood … Since
retirement I have done supply work at a

Photo: Rick Patrick
number of little churches … The gift to
these churches of long-term, competent,
enthusiastic, clerical leadership may be
transformative. It will certainly boost
their morale.
Beginning with the letter the
bishop wrote the clergy from General
Convention in 2003, through all the
clergy conferences, I have always felt I
knew what the bishop really thought
and felt about the various challenges that
have confronted us. Probably more than
any other bishop I have served under, he
has shared his personhood with us.
The Rev. Sam Todd, Dean
The Iona School

T
he first time I met Bishop
Wimberly he was wearing a
Hawaiian shirt at an Executive
Board meeting at Camp Allen. I knew
this bishop would be different! And
within the hour we were fast friends due
to our common allegiance to our alma
mater, LSU. Engaging, transparent,
empowering and wise will always be
words that come to mind as I remember
his episcopate in Texas. He has been the
right man for the right time in our long
tenure of outstanding bishops. I thank
God for his willingness to come among
us and become a Texan for at least a little
while.
Mary MacGregor, diocesan
Director of Leadership Development

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Will you share with your fellow bishops in the government
of the whole Church; will you sustain your fellow presbyters
and take counsel with them; will you guide and strengthen
the deacons and all others who minister in the Church?
I will, by the grace given me. BCP, page 518

Bishop Don Wimberly has done a masterful job of leading the Diocese of
Texas during his tenure as our bishop.We all have been blessed by his ministry
and leadership and his tenure certainly has been a challenging time in the
history of the Episcopal Church. We all can thank God for him and his lovely
wife Wendy, and I join many others in wishing them a wonderful and happy
retirement.
+Maurice Benitez (ret.)

First permanent deacons ordained in the Diocese of Texas.

Bishop Wimberly's many years in the House of Bishops brought a stability
to the Church in Texas during this last six years. His deliberate and broad-
based support from both clergy and laity has allowed us to engage in ministry
beyond anything we have done previously. His vision and support of the
diaconate and bi-vocational ministry gave us new leadership at a grassroots
level and broadened our brushstroke in local communities.
Carol E. Barnwell, diocesan
Communication Director
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Will you guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church?
I will, for the love of God. BCP, page 518

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Will you be merciful to all, show compassion to the poor
and strangers, and defend those who have no helper?
I will, for the sake of Christ Jesus. BCP, page 518

Lee Hogan and David Fine with Bishop Don A. Wimberly before blessing the new chapel at
St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital.

I
was recruited to diocesan service as President and Chief Executive Officer of the
St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, effective June, 2004.  In the five years that
have followed the System has successfully undertaken a major repositioning
effort in which its Board, chaired by Bishop Wimberly, has considered such broad
policy questions as two potential mergers and two potential sales. With Don’s
strong personal leadership the Board was encouraged to accept the numerous
challenges associated with ongoing clinical operations in preference to the easier
course associated with ‘cashing out.’ With the Bishop’s guidance, the Board came
to view the System’s patient care activities as central to the mission of the Diocese
and worthy of extension rather than contraction.
David Fine
CEO SLEH Health System
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Will you be faithful in prayer, and in the study of Holy
Scripture, that you may have the mind of Christ?
I will, for he is my help. BCP, page 518

Bishop Wimberly (R) and the Rev. Irv Cutter, then rector of St. James', Houston, immediately
after a tornado destroyed the church.

I n troubled times for the Episcopal Church, Bishop Wimberly successfully
pursued reconciliation and not only kept our diocese together, but also pushed
it to grow when other dioceses were losing members. Bishop Wimberly is a
rare combination of a loving and warm pastor and a decisive executive. He has
common sense along with his other gifts.

Charles Hall
St. John the Divine, Houston

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Videos for the web site on the morning after Hurricane Ike hit.
and of course
hurricanes or the
odd flu epidemic
for which an
immediate response
is required.
“One of the
things that has
brought such
strength to Bishop
W i m b e r l y’s
ministry is his
familiarity with so
many dimensions
Carole Dodson greets Bishop Don Wimberly at the dedication of St. of the church,”
James’, Houston, which was rebuilt following a tornado. said Bishop
Suffragan Dena
retire this June at the mandatory age of Harrison. “We have been blessed with his
72. Bishop Wimberly served as assistant perspective in planning, implementing
bishop in East Texas for three years prior to and evaluating all sorts of activities in the
his election as Bishop of Texas in 2003 and course of our work,” she added.
was previously Bishop of Lexington for 15 Bishop Wimberly’s legacy is far
years. In 1997 he was a nominee for the reaching and reflects both the challenges
Office of Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal and the blessings of his time in Texas.
Church. “I believe that I am leaving a legacy
of health, transparency and leadership,” he
A Legacy of Leadership told Council delegates in 2009.
The ministry of a bishop is not an Shortly after becoming Bishop of
easy one, neither is the “job” of bishop. Texas, a review of diocesan financial records
Many people only see the bishop when he revealed the embezzlement of nearly a
(or she) comes to church for confirmation. million dollars by the outgoing diocesan
For the diocesan bishop, this might be only treasurer. Bishop Wimberly moved
once every three years as there are more immediately to put into place a system
than 150 churches in the Diocese of Texas. of checks and balances that afforded the
Even with 52 Sundays in the year, it’s a feat diocese a secure and transparent accounting
to be admired in this large and sprawling system.
diocese. He also had a vision, a large vision,
But the Bishop of Texas is also in for leadership development when he was
great demand Monday through Friday in a elected bishop. Bishop Wimberly founded
diocese with a $10 million annual budget. the Iona School for Ministry which
There are board meetings at Episcopal High included all of his initiatives for leadership
School, the Seminary of the Southwest or development. The Iona School will have
St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System. There graduated 17 deacons and 19 bi-vocational
are foundation meetings, staff meetings, priests by June 2009 and ensures the
Executive Board meetings, letters to write training of clergy for a full sacramental life
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I
believe that Bishop Wimberly is one of
for all congregations, no matter their size.
the most pastoral bishops I have ever
The addition of deacons to support and
grow outreach ministries throughout the known. Even though he was already
diocese is also a result of the Iona School. concerned about his own health, he traveled
In addition, Bishop Wimberly to Angleton right before Christmas for my
required continuing education for clergy mother-in-law's funeral, insisted on helping
and enhanced programs to support their our elderly aunt in and out of the car,
ministries. His desire to develop lay doing everything he could think of to help.
leadership resulted in the establishment of And our family will always remember his
Crosspointes, Christ-centered lay leadership
officiating at the marriage of our daughter
training, as well as enhanced conferences for
Sarah and son-in-law Stuart, helping us
vestries and other congregational leaders.
Since 2004, St. Luke's Episcopal cope with the rabbi's lateness, being so kind
Hospital has successfully undertaken a to our families. And he would often call if
major repositioning effort in which its he knew I had been traveling to be sure I
Board, chaired by Bishop Wimberly, has got home safely. I will miss him and Wendy,
considered such broad policy questions as who really are wonderful friends.
two potential mergers and two potential
sales. “With Don's strong personal Janie Stevens, diocesan
leadership the Board was encouraged to Missioner for Christian Formation
accept the numerous challenges associated

D
with ongoing clinical operations in
preference to the easier course associated uring my hospitalization, it was
with 'cashing out,'” said David Fine, CEO, a week and a half before I got
St. Luke's Episcopal Health System. “With out of the Recovery Unit. Even
the bishop's guidance, the board came after I was transferred to the Intensive
to view the hospital system's patient care Care unit, it was several more weeks before
activities as central to the mission of the I was clear headed. While I was still in a
diocese and worthy of extension rather
confused state, Bishop Wimberly was one
than contraction,” he added.
of the first visitors I actually remember.
During Bishop Wimberly’s tenure in
Texas, outreach coordinators were named At the time I was convinced that I was in
in almost every congregation, enhancing St. Luke’s Hospital in the Woodlands. I
communication and cooperation in remember blabbering to the Bishop, “This
ministries throughout the diocese. The is such a marvelous facility you have here
Diocese of Texas set a goal to begin in 2007 (in the Woodlands).” The Bishop, who had
to give a minimum of 0.7% of the annual obviously visited a lot of sick people during
diocesan budget to address the Millennium
his ministry who were out of their head at
Development Goals (a UN program to
the time just smiled and agreed with me ...
halve poverty in the world by 2015). See
www.epicenter.org/images/edot/MDG/ understanding that you never argue with a
MDGResolutions.pdf. crazy person (even if the condition is only
Since 2003, multicultural ministry, an temporary).
active program in the diocese, became even The Rev. Canon John A. Logan, Jr.
more visible because of the appointment of
Secretary of the Diocese
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Groundbreaking for new Diocesan Center, Houston.

a Canon for Multicultural Ministries. Since parishes.
then, ministry among Hispanics and other
minorities in the diocese has continued
New Quarters
to grow, responding to the population
shifts and needs in our communities. In late 2006, the bishop’s office and
San Mateo, Houston, one of the first the diocesan staff moved into new quarters
Hispanic congregations in the diocese, adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral in
became the first to attain parish status, downtown Houston. Historically, the
no longer requiring diocesan financial bishop’s see (official seat) is at the Cathedral
support. Bishop Wimberly also supported and the move has placed the Diocesan
the creation of multicultural resources for Center into closer proximity to the church
congregational education, including the and its ministry.
new Fertile Ground Project. Bishop Wimberly regionalized
Bishop Wimberly worked to provide oversight of congregations using two
resources to bridge the gap in several suffragan bishops who help bring mission
instances when clergy chose to leave the development and diocesan resources into
Episcopal Church. His steady leadership local communities throughout the diocese.
helped the remaining congregations The number of clergy in the diocese
of Holy Cross, Sugar Land and Good who are less than 40 years of age doubled
Shepherd, Tomball, heal and begin to grow during Bishop Wimberly’s tenure and the
again. Bishop Wimberly has built two number of women in charge of congregations
churches, planted two more and supported grew from 15 to 30. The bishop worked
the growth of a special mission to Latinos with boards to find the new Dean of the
at St. Paul’s, Houston. During his time as Seminary of the Southwest, Doug Travis;
bishop, nine mission churches have become head of Episcopal High School, Houston,

18
Ned Smith; head of St. Stephen’s School, Communion including the Diocese of
Bob Kirkpatrick and CEO of St. Luke’s Southern Malawi. “With your support we
Episcopal Health System, David Fine. may begin to live into what it means to
The bishop engaged everyone in the be in communion with others beyond the
diocese in a vision project to identify core words that bind us and live into that desire
values and focus the mission of the diocese to be a communion grounded in knowing
prior to the election of a new bishop. one another through the helping hands of
This nearly year-long discernment with Christ’s action,” Bishop Wimberly said.
the people of the diocese resulted in the Ministry within the diocese includes
election of the diocese’s soon to be Ninth caring for church members as well
Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew as outreach to the poor, the sick, the
Doyle, 42. underserved. All are supported by a healthy
diocese, where clergy receive care and
continuing opportunities to develop their
leadership and where lay people are given
the ability to grow in Christ-centered
leadership.
“I could hardly know the road before
me and before us as a diocese,” he said in
his address to the 160th Council. “We
have ministered through the repercussions
of [sexuality issues in the Church] …
embezzlement and hurricanes … We
Bishop Don A. Wimberly and church planter, survived the dot.com bust and are steering
the Rev. Justin Lindstrom, St. Aidan's,
a steady ship through this recession ... We
Houston.
have held fast to what is good when it
was far easier to let go … We have treated
Unity Lived Out Locally one another with honor … we have
and Abroad accomplished a great deal together by the
One of the most important ministries Lord’s grace,” he said.
of a bishop is to guard the unity of the Bishop Don Wimberly’s ministry
Church, which is not an easy task in light has been broad and deep, resulting in a
of the disagreements within the church healthy diocese with strong leadership and
over sexuality issues and debate over same vision throughout its congregations and
sex marriage. Through several contentious institutions.
General Conventions of the Episcopal The Diocese of Texas has been
Church, Bishop Wimberly maintained a privileged to have had the leadership
steadfast commitment to remaining in the of Bishop Don Wimberly and his wife
Episcopal Church as well as the Anglican Wendy for nearly the past decade. They
Communion. will move to Atlanta following Bishop
As part of that commitment to the Wimberly’s retirement to be near children
Anglican Communion, the Board of World and grandchildren.
Missions is developing a strategy for three
companion relationships throughout the

19
I
n May 1988 Don Wimberly, as bishop of Lexington, participated in my election as the 14th
Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South. Although we had spent huge parts of our lives
not fifty miles apart in Northwest Louisiana, not until we arrived at Sewanee did we get to
know the Wimberlys. In the early 1990s we saw them at Sewanee functions in Lexington and at
Sewanee.
But the key point came in the spring of 1991 with Don’s election to the University’s Board of
Regents, the senior governing board. From that point forward we were in nearly constant contact
about university business, the myriad problems with the School of Theology, and the give and take
of fund raising and university governance. We became friends but not yet intimate.
That came in 1997 when to my sheer delight, Don was elected the 21st Chancellor of the
University. From that point forward, I had a confidant, a willing listener to my problems (and on
occasion I heard his as well), and our wives became friends, fast friends as we did. As the official
head of the University, Don ran the show as we had great fun with the visit of the Archbishop of
Canterbury in the spring of 1999. The chancellor’s role with the Board of Trustees is pivotal and Don
sought repeatedly as chancellor to make their roles not only seem important but be important.
On the occasion of my retirement Don continued to serve for another three years as
chancellor and then as Bishop of Texas on the Board of Trustees. As he retires, he is by far the most
senior serving bishop on the Board, a welcome piece of historical memory.
Our shared love of Litchfield Beach has brought us to together many times, as have their visits
to Sewanee, and the wedding of their daughter Julie at Sewanee.
In Don I have a very close friend, indeed one of my very closest. We share thoughts, worry
aloud about things, and resolve to be confident and optimistic about the future. We have fretted
over each other’s illnesses, talked about the future after retirement, and shared occasional athletic
triumphs, with me willing (though a Tulane man) to root for LSU on most occasions. And above
all, down deep, we have a deep and abiding love for our families, for the Episcopal Church, and for
the University of the South.
Sam Williamson, Sewanee

20
Packing care boxes for the troops
21
Thank You
To the Steering Committee for
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly Leadership Fund

John Dawson

Andy Doyle

Charles W. H all

Larry H all

Dena H arrison

Rayford B. H igh, Jr.

Lee H ogan

Chester Jones

Barbara Kraft

Charles Kraft

F lo M cGee

Joe Reynolds

Jim Stevens

Elam Swann

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