Retired Bishop James D. Warner of Nebraska dies at 85

September 10, 2009

Funeral services are set for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 15 at Trinity Cathedral in Omaha for the Rt. Rev. James David Warner, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska.

A native of Sheridan, Wyoming, Warner, 85, died September 9. He had retired in 1990 after serving about 14 years as the eighth Bishop of Nebraska.

Warner came to Nebraska from Oshkosh, Wis., after serving parishes in Wichita, Kansas, and Marinette and Mosinee, Wisconsin, before becoming rector in Oshkosh.

He was consecrated Nebraska bishop on November 30, 1976, in a service at St. Cecilia Catholic Cathedral, because Trinity was too small to handle the crowd.

Throughout his episcopacy Warner was known for ecumenical engagement. On March 13, 1983, he presided over an unprecedented shared communion at Trinity Cathedral with local Lutherans and Episcopalians.

"It's a brand new experience for us and it's an exciting one," Warner said at the time. "The Episcopal Church embraces this opportunity with enthusiasm but with caution."

The service came about because of an agreement among the governing bodies of the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutherans.

Warner had also served on the National Council of the Evangelical and Catholic Mission. He was a graduate of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Prior to ordination, he had been a truck driver, farmer, disc jockey, salesman, sales manager, factory worker, teacher and social worker, and had served in the Navy.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Marcella Ann Walk, and several children and grandchildren.

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