Western Massachusetts, Albany Elect Bishops

Episcopal News Service. December 22, 1983 [83230_Z]

NEW YORK (DPS, Dec. 22) -- Two northeastern dioceses took no more than five ballots and one day each to elect bishops in fall elections.

In Springfield, Mass., the 106 Clergy and 163 Lay Delegates of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts elected the Rev. Andrew Frederick Wissemann, to become the sixth bishop of the diocese of 20,000 communicants in 68 parishes and missions. Wissemann was elected on the fourth ballot to succeed the Rt. Rev. Alexander D. Stewart who has resigned to become executive for administration at the Episcopal Church Center.

Diocesan needs and priorities were canvassed, and ten priests were nominated as candidates for bishop in early fall. In November they all visited Springfield and clergy and lay delegates (representing every congregation) met and talked with each candidate.

Prior to the election, one candidate withdrew his own name, so on the day of election at a special diocesan convention at Christ Church Cathedral, nine candidates -- from Western Massachusetts and six other dioceses were officially nominated.

April 7, 1984, is the anticipated date on which Wissemann will be consecrated, assuming all the consents have been received. At that time, he will officially become the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese.

Wissemann, 55, has been the rector of St. Stephen's parish in Pittsfield, Mass. since 1968. Prior to his ministry in Pittsfield, Wissemann was rector of St. James', Greenfield and priest in charge of St. Andrew's, Turners Falls.

He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, studied at Union Theological Seminary and received his S.T.B. from General Theological Seminary.

He has served on Diocesan Council, Administration and Finance unit, the Standing Committee and Ministry Committee and has represented the diocese as a deputy to three General Conventions. Wissemann and his wife, Nancy (Whittemore), are parents of a son and three daughters.

Delegates observed with thanksgiving Wissemann's strong showing form the earliest ballot, feeling that this signified a united and expression of support from all the clergy and people of the diocese.

In Albany, the Very Rev. David Standish Ball, dean of the Cathedral of All Saints, Albany since 1960, was elected bishop-coadjutor of that diocese on the fifth ballot on Oct. 10. As Coadjutor, Ball will automatically succeed the Rt. Rev. Wilbur Hogg when the latter retires. The diocese contains 121 parishes and stretches from below New York's capitol city north to the Canadian border.

A native of Albany, he is a graduate of Colgate University and General. He was ordained in 1953 and served as a curate in Saratoga Springs for three years before joining the cathedral staff in 1956.

His consecration is anticipated for February following receipt of the canonical consents.