Bishop Gordon Paul Scruton was elected the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts on June 29, 1996. Bishop Scruton has been a member of the Episcopal clergy for 40 years. He was consecrated a bishop on October 12, 1996 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Bishop Scruton was born in Rochester, New Hampshire, March 8, 1947; his father is a retired United Methodist pastor. The Scruton family's history in New Hampshire extends back to the 1740s, when ancestors first came there from England. He received a master's degree in English, magna cum laude, from Barrington College. He then studied at the Boston University School of Theology, receiving a master's degree in theology in 1971. He was ordained to the deaconate in 1971 and the priesthood in 1972 in the Diocese of Rhode Island. He began his ministry as assistant rector at St. Mark's Church in Riverside, R.I in 1971.
In 1975 he was named assistant rector at St. Paul's Church in Kingston, R.I. While in Rhode Island, he served the Diocese on the Commission on Ministry, the Evangelism Commission, and as a Stewardship consultant. In 1977, Bishop Scruton was called to become rector of Grace Church in Dalton, Mass., where he served until 1981, when he was called to St. Francis Church in Holden, Mass. He was rector of that rapidly growing suburban parish at the time of his election to the episcopate.
Bishop Scruton and the former Rebecca S. Polley were married in 1968. Their children, Christine and Gregory, are both married and live in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Scrutons have four grandchildren.
Throughout his ordained ministry, Bishop Scruton has been active in local ecumenical relationships. He has placed strong emphasis on the development of the spiritual life of clergy and laity. Bishop Scruton has been a member of The Fellowship of the Way of the Cross throughout his ordained life. He was The Superior of the Fellowship from 1986 to 1996, providing spiritual direction and oversight for 40 Episcopal clergy in the Northeast.
From 1979 to 1987, he chaired the Spiritual Life Commission of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and later served for three years on the Congregational Development Commission. In the diocese, he helped initiate Cursillo and Education for Ministry. He also helped start a Spiritual Direction program for the Diocese. During a 1993 sabbatical, he taught "Spiritual Direction of Congregations" and "Priestly Spirituality" at Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada.
A lifelong passion for global mission led him as a priest to take parishes on mission trips to the Dominican Republic. He has been a frequent conductor of spiritual retreats and conferences. For many years he led clergy colleague groups and consulted with congregations interested in spiritual health and development.
He has published articles concerning spiritual life and congregational development in The Living Church, Alban Institute's Action Information, and The New England Church Resource Handbook.
Since becoming bishop, he has been active in the governance of the Episcopal Church, serving on:
Standing Commission in Stewardship and Development, 1997-2003
Standing Commission on World Mission, 2003-2009
Member of the Court for the Trial of a Bishop, 2006 - 2009
House of Bishops Standing Committee on Religious Orders and Communities, 2009-
He has also served on General Convention Committees:
Stewardship and Development, 1997, 2000 and 2003
Constitution and Canons, 2006
Ecumenical and Interfaith, 2009
Bishop Scruton has been active in the Anglican Communion:
Participated in Lambeth Conferences, 1998, 2008
Participant in the “Walking to Emmaus” Gathering for African and American Bishops in Spain, 2007
Served on Covenant Committee with The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia, 2007 – 2012, including trips to Liberia in 2008, 2009, and 2011, serving as Chair of the Committee since 2009.
Helped establish a companion friendship between the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Anglican Diocese of Kumasi in Ghana, visiting Ghana in 2008.
In addition, Bishop Scruton has:
Been active in Ecumenical and Interfaith relationships in New England and Massachusetts.
Served as Bishop Protector for Third Order Franciscans, Province of the Americas since 2003
Served as a coach for new bishops through the College of Bishops since 2007
Led retreats and conferences for clergy and lay leaders in several dioceses.