New Bishop of Costa Rica Elected on First Ballot

Episcopal News Service. July 13, 1978 [78192]

SIQUIRRES, Costa Rica -- The Rev. Cornelius Joshua Wilson, a 45-year-old priest of West Indian descent, was elected Bishop of Costa Rica on the first ballot at a special diocesan convention held here on July 2.

The election took place in a festive celebration at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin with a congregation of 300 in this small Costa Rican town. Fr. Wilson received 10 out of the 11 votes in the clerical order and 68 out of 92 in the lay order. The consecration is scheduled for September 15th, the Independence Day for Costa Rica and the rest of the Central American republics.

Fr. Wilson received his theological training in Costa Rica at a special training school and was ordained deacon in 1965 and priest in 1967 by the then Bishop of Costa Rica, the Rt. Rev. David Richards. Last May he received a Master's Degree through Absalom Jones Institute from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He is married to the former Eulalia Cole also of Costa Rica. The Wilsons have five children.

The see of Costa Rica became vacant when Bishop J. Antonio Ramos presented his resignation in June to return to his native Puerto Rico, following a carefully designed plan for autonomy and self-support.

Bishop Ramos will be studying at the University of Puerto Rico in the area of rehabilitation for the handicapped. He also will help in the affairs of the Diocese of Puerto Rico.

The Diocese of Costa Rica became autonomous when it requested such status from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which placed it under the metropolitical authority of the House of Bishops of the Ninth Province.

On September 15th, Fr. Wilson will become the third Bishop of Costa Rica but the first native son of the republic to be elected to that office in the Episcopal Church.

[thumbnail: The Rev. Cornelius Joshua...]