The Right Reverend Clarence E. Hobgood (1971 – 1978)
II Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces
Clarence Hobgood was elected by the House of Bishops at the 63rd General Convention and was consecrated by the XXII Presiding Bishop (and Civil Rights crusader) John Elbridge Hines, Candlemastide, in the Washington National Cathedral on 2 February 1971. Interestingly, this was the first time Christian Pacifists openly objected to the creation of an Armed Forces Bishop by staging a demonstration in the Cathedral. Of course, the interruption was adroitly handled by Bishop Hines.
Bishop Hobgood was a man of great piety who had been born and raised in the Baptist Church in North Carolina. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Edwin Penick of North Carolina, April 1947. He served in the US Air Force for 29 years, culminating with the position of Command Chaplain to the prestigious Strategic Air Command (SAC.) It was often rumored that he was in line to be Air Force Deputy Chief of Chaplains, a Brigadier General position, but chose instead to assume the mantel of Armed Forces Bishop.
Bishop Hobgood was a gentleman of the old school. He was known for his eloquence in the pulpit and dry sense of humor. He brought dignity to this office. God blessed him with long life: he lived to age 93 and is buried in his beloved Charlotte, North Carolina.
Anecdote: From Bishop Wright: I got to know Bishop Hobgood through the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was customary for retired Bishops to be active participants in the House of Bishops. I visited Bishop Hobgood on the floor of the House and he visited me at our Armed Forces and Federal Ministries booth in the Exhibition Hall. He was a great encourager. I remember him as dignified, wise, and humble.