TENNESSEE: Diocese consecrates John C. Bauerschmidt as 11th bishop

January 31, 2007

John C. Bauerschmidt was consecrated the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee January 27 during a ceremony at Christ Church in Nashville.

Bauerschmidt, 47, rector of Christ Church, Covington in the Diocese of Louisiana was elected  October 28 out of a field of three nominees on the 12th ballot. The election happened during the diocese's fourth attempt to choose a successor to Herlong.

East Carolina Bishop Clifton Daniel III was the chief consecrator. Atlanta Bishop J. Neil Alexander, retired Louisiana Bishop James B. Brown, retired Tennessee Bishop Bertram N. Herlong (whom Bauerschmidt succeeds) and Alabama Bishop Henry N. Parsley were co-consecrators.

Also participating in the laying on of hands were West Tennessee Bishop Don Johnson, East Tennessee Bishop Charles Von Rosenberg, Upper South Carolina Bishop Dorsey Henderson, Western North Carolina Bishop Porter Taylor, Kentucky Bishop Edwin Gulick, Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller, and Litoral (Ecuador) Bishop Alfredo Morante.

Bauerschmidt served as rector of Christ Church in Covington for the past 10 years. In honor of his service there, Bauerschmidt designated the offering from his ordination service for hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana. The senior curate of Christ Church, the Rev. Pamela Snare, preached at the consecration.

The new bishop said his experience of living and working through the tremendous damage and suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina profoundly influenced him.

"When this horrible disaster struck, our congregation came together like never before and focused on what is really important," Bauerschmidt said in a diocesan news release. "When you have to find a way to have Mass without electricity, or find shelter for people who have lost their homes, or comfort those who have lost loved ones, it becomes quite obvious that our vital duty as Christians is to help others and that a primary function of the church is to provide a loving, supporting community."

"This experience has greatly influenced my ministry. Most importantly, I have seen how important community is. It is through people coming together, loving each other, helping each other, that Christ really gets traction in the world. It’s how we form the body of Christ. With strong community, challenges become opportunities for growth and we see more clearly the need to reach out to others -- and are more capable of acting on this need," he added.

Bauerschmidt was ordained as a priest in 1985 in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. A native of Virginia, he began his ecclesiastical career as a curate at All Saints Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has also been rector of Christ Church in Albemarle, North Carolina, and chaplain at Pusey House in Oxford, England, while he was studying for his doctorate in Christian ethics at Oxford University, which he received in 1996.

More biographical information is available here.

The new bishop assumes leadership of approximately 16,000 Episcopalians from 51 congregations in Middle Tennessee, an area bounded by Tennessee’s north and south borders, the Tennessee River on the west and the edge of the Cumberland Plateau on the east.

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