August 24, 2020
I am saddened to inform you of the sudden death of The Right Reverend John Thomas Tarrant. John died early this morning of an apparent heart attack. The death of this faithful priest and beloved bishop is a shock to so many people near and far. My prayers are with John’s wife, Pat, and their children, his family and friends, and the people of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Pittsfield, with whom John shared a transformative ministry as interim since May of 2019. I ask you to lift all those whom John served into the light of God’s love today. The scope of his ministry, detailed below, reminds us how many lives one person can touch and bless in a lifetime of servant leadership.
The Rt. Rev. John Thomas Tarrant was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of South Dakota on October 31, 2009 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He became Diocesan Bishop on February 2, 2010.
John was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1952 and raised in rural Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1974 with a Political Science degree and received his Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1983. He has served congregations in Western Massachusetts, Connecticut and South Dakota.
1983-1985: Curate, Church of the Atonement, Westfield
1985-1989: Rector, St. Paul’s, Gardner, MA
1989-1991: Assistant, St. Paul’s, Holyoke, MA
1991-1996: Missioner, Greater Waterbury Episcopal Ministry, Middlebury, CT
1996-2005: Rector, St. Paul’s, Stockbridge, MA
2005-2009: Rector, Trinity Church, Pierre, SD
Upon his retirement as bishop, John came home to Western Massachusetts. His pastoral presence was a great blessing to the people of St. Stephen’s. His support of Cathedral of the Beloved and the under-housed in the city resonated with John’s lifetime commitment to forming “beloved community.” His passion for justice motivated John’s witness at Standing Rock. His humble ministry among indigenous people made John a wonderful storyteller of God’s love for diversity. While this loss is especially local, it is felt churchwide. The House of Bishops mourns John today as we remember a colleague and friend.
May the soul of God’s faithful servant rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him.