Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chester Talton Next Provisional Bishop of the Epsicopal Diocese of San Joaquin

For those of us a little slow on the uptake it has come to my attention that Bishop Jerry Lamb is going to retire.  He would like to retire once again to the beautiful state of New Mexico.  However, before that can happen there is one small matter of his successor.  The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Dioces of San Joaquin has done an outstanding job of finding the very finest candidate, his name is Chester Talton.

Here is the "rap" on Bishop Talton::

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin is very pleased to present the Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, retired bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, as the candidate for the next Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

Delegates to a special meeting of the Diocesan Convention, scheduled for March 5 in Fresno, will vote whether or not to elect Bishop Talton in a process dictated by church canons. In addition to meeting together to applaud this next chapter in the renewal of the Diocese of San Joaquin, we will also have the opportunity that day to celebrate the ministry and contributions of retiring Provisional Bishop Jerry A. Lamb and his wife Jane. Bishop Talton’s installation service, led by Bishop Lamb, is scheduled to follow an affirming vote. As we move from a focus of healing and regrouping to that of recovery and rebuilding, we are excited to have the vision, enthusiasm and experience of Bishop Chet Talton.

Born in Arkansas in 1941, Bishop Talton has spent much of his life in California. He attended California State University, Hayward (B.S. 1965) and Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, (M.Div.‘70, D.D.’92). He was first ordained deacon in June 1970 and priest in February 1971, in the Diocese of California. He has served at churches in Berkeley, Carmel, Chicago, Saint Paul, and spent nine years in New York City as Mission Officer of Trinity Church (Wall Street) and the Rector of St. Philip's Church (Harlem), prior to becoming Bishop Suffragan (a type of assisting bishop) of Los Angeles in 1991. Bishop Talton retired from Los Angeles in 2010 after serving as Bishop Suffragan for 19 years. Bishop Talton has four adult children. He and his wife, April, will divide their time between the Diocese of San Joaquin and their home in Pasadena.

Bishop Chet and April will arrive in the diocese later this month and, officially recognized by Bishop Jerry as a “Visiting Bishop”, he will begin to visit congregations and faith communities as of February 1. There are three regional deanery meetings scheduled for consecutive Sundays in February, where you will have the opportunity to meet the Taltons, and hear from Bishop Chet prior to the special meeting of the Diocesan Convention on March 5.

The path we followed leading to this upcoming provisional bishop transition was a long one. In the initial discussions with Bishop Jerry Lamb in 2008, his tenure in our diocese was planned for 2 to 3 years. March of 2011 will mark that 3-year point. The process to find his successor began in earnest in the fall of 2009. The Standing Committee met in a multi-day retreat in November to consider the necessary qualifications and characteristics of a provisional bishop to serve San Joaquin as we continued in this period of transition to a final point of business-as-usual when the diocese might conduct a customary diocesan bishop search. While at retreat, the Standing Committee used the results of the Visioning Session at our 2009 Diocesan Convention as a foundation document. From it, we created a tasks and characteristics profile for the next provisional bishop that was shared with Bishop Clay Matthews of the Office of Pastoral Development in the Presiding Bishop’s Office. Throughout the next 12 months, the Standing Committee worked with the Presiding Bishop’s office to call a retired bishop, willing to take on the challenges of our diocese, who also had the desired gifts and talents identified by the Convention and Standing Committee. That process was finalized in just the last few weeks.

This is an excellent choice for us!  And, here is Bishop Talton's picture:

Welcome to the Great Central Valley -- and the beat goes on: