Almost Heaven!

The Search for the Bishop Coadjutor
The Diocese of West Virginia

Almost Heaven!

The Search for the Bishop Coadjutor
The Diocese of West Virginia

Almost Heaven!

The Search for the Bishop Coadjutor
The Diocese of West Virginia

Search for Bishop Coadjutor Announcement

The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, called for the election of a bishop coadjutor for his diocese. This formally begins a search process to identify and to elect the person who will become the eighth bishop of The Episcopal Church in the Mountain State.

Klusmeyer made the announcement over the weekend during the diocese’s 142nd Annual Convention at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, which was the first home to the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia before it relocated to Charleston. Although Klusmeyer has not set a date for his retirement, the process began after a search committee was formed by the Diocesan Standing Committee. This approach allows for a smooth transition from the bishop to his successor.

Klusmeyer ended the announcement by expressing his appreciation to his diocese, where he became bishop on Oct. 13, 2001. “This diocese has changed my life,” he said.“ This has been a blessing to me. You have brought joy and grace to my life.“

The Episcopal Church in West Virginia is more than 8,000 members strong. The first church in present-day West Virginia was established as a log structure that became known as Morgan Chapel near Bunker Hill in 1740. Today, there are 65 congregations in the state.

The Standing Committee established the Bishop Coadjutor Search and Nominating Committee in March 2020 with the Rev. Deacon Al Prichard as chair.

A Letter from the Chair of the Search Committee

Welcome to the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and thank you for considering embarking on this journey with us. We look forward to meeting and getting to know you over the next few months. Hopefully, this site will help you learn more of us and assist you in your discernment.

After twenty years as our spiritual leader, Bishop Michie “Mike” Klusmeyer has announced that he is nearing retirement and has called for the election of a bishop coadjutor for the Diocese of West Virginia. The Standing Committee established the Bishop Coadjutor Search and Nominating Committee just as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic became obvious. It took a few months for the committee, advised by the Rev. Gary Butterworth, a veteran of other successful bishop searches, to develop a means of searching without actually meeting face-to-face. It has been an exciting and interesting endeavor for all involved and we eagerly anticipate the open nomination period that will introduce us to those God is calling to apply.

We, who make up the Diocese of West Virginia, live in interesting times even without the presence of the pandemic. We are faced with many challenges and we have enjoyed many successes, always feeling the help and presence of the Holy Spirit guiding and encouraging us as we move forward. We know that we have been blessed with a bishop who continually strives to fill our hearts and souls with joy and inspiration. We grieve with the realization that his presence among us is limited, but we are excited about what the future will bring us. We look forward to new ideas, new callings and ministries, and new challenges.            

Indeed, we are faced now with many challenges. The membership continues to decline, and we find there are many small parishes with dwindling resources. Our membership reflects the population of our state which also continues to age and to decline. We realize that it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract new priests. We continue to see enormous problems resulting in pain, suffering and death within our communities brought on by unemployment, hunger, limited healthcare, and the opioid crisis among other reasons.            

But we see hope and are encouraged by the presence of the wonderfully dedicated, talented and resourceful folks who make up our parishes and inspire our diocese. Our parishes are dedicated to outreach and social justice issues and we are blessed with Episcopalians willing to stand up and be counted. Throughout the diocese, food insecurity is addressed daily with hot meals, food pantries and school backpack feeding programs. Reading programs have been available to encourage education and to develop a love of what books can give us. There are programs addressing the needs of the impoverished and many parishes are involved with Habitat for Humanity. When disaster strikes in whatever form be it floods or drug related, West Virginia Episcopalians have been among the first to respond and the last to remain. We take seriously God’s command for us to love our neighbor.            

We believe we are special, not because we are particularly different or more talented or more dedicated, but because we feel God’s presence within us and working on us; because we are a community of believers and doers; because we feel blessed and strive to share that blessing; because we recognize the worthiness of all and the presence of Christ within each and every person we meet no matter who they are, whom they love, what they believe or what they look like. We seek a bishop who shares these values and beliefs and will dedicate his or herself to the building of God’s Kingdom here in West Virginia. Almost Heaven! But we are not there yet. There is work to be done. 

Faithfully in Christ,
The Rev. Deacon Al Prichard, Chair

Prayer for Bishop Coadjutor Search

Almighty God, you have created each person with many and varied gifts and joined our lives together as members of the Diocese of West Virginia. Look graciously upon us as we search for our 8th Bishop, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries. Give us minds to discern your will, courage to follow where you lead, and hearts to love as you command, to the glory of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.