SOUTHERN VIRGINIA: Hollerith elected bishop on sixth ballot

September 28, 2008

The Rev. Herman "Holly" Hollerith on September 27 was chosen the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia on the sixth ballot in an election held in Powhatan, Virginia.

In remarks to the special meeting of the 117th Annual Council of the Diocese, Hollerith said he was excited, humbled and surprised to be elected. Hollerith, who is 53, has been a priest for 25 years. He is currently serving Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Before coming to Southern Virginia, he served parishes in South Carolina and Southwestern Virginia.

Aspects of ministry that he is passionate about are "conveying the notion of the priesthood of all believers" and "the Pauline truth, as once described by Krister Stendahl, that 'love is measured by its ability to handle maximum diversity,'" he wrote in answers to questions posed to all the episcopal candidates.

The candidates were asked to address the issues concerning sexuality that are now causing controversy within the church. Hollerith wrote that he is "personally comfortable with the idea of a homosexual person becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church" but was concerned that sexually-active homosexual relationships are currently "theologically undefined by the church." Hollerith wrote that he values the "interdependent nature" of membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion. "We must remain accountable to Anglicans outside of [the Episcopal Church].

"This, in turn, means that others must also be accountable to us in matters of justice and the practice of faith," he wrote.

Hollerith holds a bachelor of science degree from Denison University and a master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. In his leisure time, he enjoys "building things," especially boats, and is a devotee of maritime archeology with a special interest in early marine steam technology. He is married to Elizabeth Salmons and they have three children.

Assuming the necessary consents of a majority of the bishops of the Episcopal Church and a majority of the diocesan standing committees are received, Hollerith will be consecrated on February 13, 2009 as part of the winter session of the 117th Annual Council. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is expected to be the chief consecrator.