Gregory Rickel elected bishop of Olympia

May 11, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Rickel was elected May 12 to be the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia.

Rickel, 43, rector of St. James' Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas, was elected on the third ballot from a slate of five nominees. He was elected with 224 lay votes and 106 clergy votes. An election on that ballot required 185 votes of 369 cast in the lay order and 104 of 207 votes cast in the clergy order. The election took place at St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle.

"It's a hot day in Austin," Rickel said via cell phone after his election was announced. "We're looking forward to being with you all in the Diocese of Olympia. The blessings we received while we were with you on walkabout we carry with us today."

Under the canons the Episcopal Church (III.11.4), a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan Standing Committees must consent to Rickel's election and ordination as bishop.

The consecration is scheduled for September 15, 2007 at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington.

Rickel will succeed Vincent W. Warner, 66, who will retire at the time of the consecration after 18 years as diocesan bishop.

Three nominees -- the Rev. Richard A. Burnett, the Rt. Rev. Bavi Edna (Nedi) Rivera and the Rev. Angela Shepherd -- withdrew after the second ballot. The complete ballot results are available here.

Since 2001, Rickel has been rector of St. James', "an inclusive, multicultural community" and historically African-American Church started in east Austin in 1941. He has been a consultant for the Stewardship Office of the Episcopal Church Center in New York since 1997. He has consulted in Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Michigan, Oregon and Kentucky as well as in other denominations on topics such as initiating comprehensive stewardship programs, working better as a team, diversity, communications and evangelism. Rickel has been married to his wife, Marti, for 22 years and they are the proud parents of Austin Morris, age 11.

The other nominees were:

* the Rev. Richard A. Burnett, 50, rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Columbus, Ohio, Diocese of Southern Ohio;

* the Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, 49, rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Medina, Washington, Diocese of Olympia;

* the Rt. Rev. Bavi Edna (Nedi) Rivera, 61, Bishop Suffragan of Olympia, Seattle, Washington; and

* the Rev. Angela F. Shepherd, 47, rector, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Annapolis, Maryland, Diocese of Maryland.

The Diocese of Olympia comprises about 32,000 Episcopalians worshipping in 96 congregations in the state of Washington west of the Cascades.

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