The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr., recently retired bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas (view a quick video of Bishop High), has been nominated by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in consultation with the office of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, as the next provisional bishop of Fort Worth. He will be elected at the 30th Diocesan Convention Nov. 3 in Stephenville at Tarleton State University.
The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, will retire as provisional bishop at the diocesan convention. Bishop Ohl has served since November of 2009, when he succeeded the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. (Ted) Gulick Jr. Gulick, then bishop of Kentucky, became the first provisional bishop of Fort Worth after the diocese reorganized in February 2009 following the departure of the former diocesan bishop and several diocesan leaders from The Episcopal Church in November 2008.
“I am deeply honored and humbled by the fact that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth would ask me to be their provisional bishop,” Bishop High said. “I am thrilled and I am excited about it and I look forward to working with laity and clergy of the diocese. I’m really grateful for the laity of the church. And Pat and I are excited about being in Fort Worth, about moving there in January. Pat goes with me on visitations — she’s part of the team.
“I have a longer deeper connection with the diocese,” he added. “I did my first year of college at TCU and went to Trinity as a person who grew up in Diocese of Texas and they embraced me. Their chaplain looked after me through Canterbury House. It was the beginning of a new spiritual level of growth for me.”
Bishop High was former canon for pastoral ministries and the diocesan liaison to St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital when he was elected bishop suffragan, June 7, 2003 at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston. He was consecrated on October 4, 2003 at Camp Allen.
“I am excited for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Bishop High brings a wealth of talent and experience to our leadership. He is a gifted pastor who will shepherd us through this critical stage in our life together. I am confident that the people of the diocese will enjoy getting to know him and will benefit greatly from his ministry,” said the Rev. David Madison, president of the Standing Committee.
Bishop High and his wife Pat live in Lake Jackson. He oversees the chaplains to the retired clergy and clergy spouses for the Diocese of Texas and is continuing on the board of St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
Formerly he oversaw congregations in the Northeast, San Jacinto and Southeast Convocations. This includes Beaumont, Jasper, Liberty, Orange, Port Arthur and Port Neches in addition to Silsbee and Woodville as well as the area of east Texas from Jefferson to Lufkin, Longview and Henderson areas. In addition to his Episcopal visitations (and confirmations) Bishop High was Executive for Pastoral Ministries, overseeing the pastoral care of clergy and their families as well as renewal and prison ministries.
Prior to becoming Canon for Pastoral Ministries, Bishop High served in parish ministry for 32 years, most recently as rector of St. Paul’s, Waco. A native of Houston, Bishop High graduated from Bellaire High School; University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was elected to represent the diocese as a deputy at General Convention on eight occasions and was named Waco humanitarian of the year. High and his wife Pat have been married for 48 years and have three children and six grandchildren. They are building a home in Fort Worth and will be moving to Fort Worth in early 2013 when it is completed.