Alexander Hamilton Vinton
First Bishop of the Diocese
By the time of his death in 1911, Bishop Vinton had eliminated many of the problems of the new diocese and had realized much of its potential. Parishes and missions had increased to fifty-six, and the number of communicants had increased by fifty percent.
Thomas F. Davies
Expanded Missionary work and guided people through World War I and the depression of the 1920s. 12 missions founded, 10 mission churches built, 12 churches consecrated, Christ Church, Springfield became the Diocesan Cathedral.
William Appleton Lawrence
Created the first Diocesan Council in 1938, recommended lay employees be included under social security, Camp Bement was established in 1946. In his retirement Bishop Lawrence developed what is now known as the Clergy Deployment Office.
Robert McConnell Hatch
The war in Vietnam and civil rights movement were two of the main controversial movements that concerned Bishop Hatch. The exodus to suburbia in the 1950s prompted the founding of new missions in Wilbraham, Northborough, East Longmeadow, South Hadley and Fairview – the latter to serve Westover Air Force Base. Other churches were closed in Winchendon and Van Deusenville, as well as St. Simon’s in Springfield.
Alexander Doig Stewart
A revised Prayer book was approved for use, women were appointed as layreaders, General Convention voted in favor of women’s ordination to the priesthood, and Western Massachusetts became a Companion Diocese to the Diocese of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Andrew Frederick Wissemann
Continued relationship with Tanzania, appointment of the first full time Diocesan Coordinator for Education, start of new program, “Living Into Our Baptism” as a tool to revitalize churches.
Robert Scott Denig
Wanted youth to participate in ministry, churches to be “safe”, and to increase the Diocese’s Hispanic ministry. Succumbed to cancer in 1995.
Gordon Paul Scruton
Committed to the ministry of reconciliation. Addressed needs of moving the Diocese on from maintenance mode to missionary engagement.
Douglas John Fisher
Committed to congregational development, inclusivity, ÔÇ£greening” churches and economic justice.
For more in depth history, read “From the Blackstone to the Housatonic” – A History of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts – The First Hundred Years, available at Diocesan House in Springfield.