The Diocese of Eau Claire has elected the Rev. William Jay Lambert as the seventh bishop of the Northwestern Wisconsin diocese.
Delegates meeting on 9 Nov 2012 in Chippewa Falls elected Fr. Lambert, rector of St James Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Florida on the second ballot from four candidates standing for election.
In addition to Jay Lambert, the Rev. Robert Clarke, priest-in-charge, Holy Apostles’ Church, Oneida, Wisconsin in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, the Rev. Richard E. Craig III, former rector, St. John the Baptist, Portage, Wisconsin of the Diocese of Milwaukee and the Rev. Arthur Hancock, vicar, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Hayward, Wisconsin of the Diocese of Eau Claire were on the ballot.
Fr. Lambert led the voting following the first ballot receiving 17 clergy and 24 lay votes. He was followed by Fr. Hancock with 6 clergy and 19 lay, Fr. Clarke with 1 clergy and 1 lay, and Fr. Craig with 1 clergy and four lay. On the second ballot Fr. Lambert received the necessary margins in both the clergy and lay order receiving 18 clergy and 26 lay votes to Fr. Hancock’s 8 clergy and 21 lay, Fr. Clarke’s 1 clergy and 1 lay and Fr. Craig’s 10 clergy and 0 lay.
Fr. Lambert succeeds the Rt. Rev. Edwin Leidel who served as provisional bishop following the translation of the diocese’s fifth bishop, the Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore as assistant Bishop of Atlanta in 2008
The diocesan profile said the “ideal candidate” for the half time position would be able to “support himself or herself through a part-time position, provide vision for new ways of working in the Episcopal Church, and an energetic spirituality that will nurture the wide variety of people to whom we minister.”
The diocese has a baptized membership of 2200 in 21 congregations served by 15 priests, 12 deacons and 7 active retired clergy. Its 2012 budget is $223,632.
Fr. Lambert told AI last month that he would retire from his present post as rector of St James and his retirement package in addition to the stipend given to him by the diocese would permit him to be a full-time “missionary bishop” for the diocese.
Speaking before the election to AI the new bishop was enthusiastic about the opportunities for growing the diocese, attracting new clergy, and sharing the “Good News of Jesus Christ” to the people of Wisconsin.
The Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Brewer told his clergy that he had spoken with Bishop-elect Lambert after the results were announced and reported the new bishop was “very excited. Please remember him now in your prayers!”