Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY
Business Office: 68 South Swan Street - Albany, NY 12210 - (518) 465-4737
Christ the King Spiritual Life Center: 575 Burton Road - Greenwich, NY 12834 - (518) 692-9550

The Bishop Coadjutor Election Convention

by Lay Cn. George J. Marshall, TAE Editor

Saturday, March 25th, the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany was the site of a momentous event – the election of Albany’s Bishop Coadjutor. After months of preparation, more than 700 people gathered to witness or participate in the election of Albany’s next bishop. Newspaper reporters and television cameras seemed to add an already strong sense that “something important was going to happen this day.”

160 canonically resident clergy and 105 lay deputations were asked to elect but one of 11 highly qualified Nominees. The Nominees had already gone through a grinding period of questioning, background checks, interviews and “walkabouts” at the Spiritual Life Center. All knew only too well that only one would stand victorious in the end.

What was anticipated to be a very long day, included time for inspirational worship. It was tempting to just be preoccupied with the election, but the day become more meaningful when Morning Prayer and the Eucharist became an integral part of the event. The worship was comforting and reassuring, especially to the very few charged with the responsibility of making such an important decision.

The election was expected to take many ballots, perhaps 7 or more. Clergy and lay deputies dutifully voted four times in four separate ballots. After the second ballot, Reverend Canon William H. Love led all Nominees with 42 cleric and 32 lay votes. He still, however, was short of the needed 80 cleric and 54 lay votes needed to be declared a winner. All present felt that the next ballot was crucial. Would the trend continue? It did. The third ballot revealed a somewhat commanding lead for Fr. Love - 65 cleric and 46 lay votes. The tension finally ended in the early afternoon when the 4th ballot results were read by Col. Forest Rittgers, “Fr. Love - 84 cleric…62 lay.” The 700 faithful broke out with extended and rousing applause, joyful song and happy tears. Invited to the dais, Fr. Love officially, and humbly, announced his acceptance to fulfill the will of the Convention.

Fr. Love was then joined by his wife, U.S.A.F. Colonel Karen Love. Without notes, he delivered an inspired address filled with gratitude, humility, hope and promise. No one within sight or sound could remain unmoved. The Convention ended with still more applause, more song and a seemingly never-ending line of people wishing to extend their heartiest congratulations. With that, so ended the 2006 Bishop Coadjutor Election Convention.

Fr. Love is now the Bishop Coadjutor-Elect, but, the journey to becoming the 9th Bishop of Albany is far from over. The next step is for him to receive Consent at General Convention in Columbus, in June 2006. Assuming he attains Consent, preparation will then begin for his consecration now scheduled to be held September 16th, 2006 at the Albany Convention Center. In accordance with canon law, Bishop Love can then expect to be Bishop of Albany in the next 36 months, succeeding the current diocesan, Bishop Daniel W. Herzog. (See more on Fr. Love elsewhere in this issue of TAE.)

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