Bishop James Magness, Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries, to retire in 2017

August 14, 2015

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has announced the upcoming resignation (retirement) of Bishop James “Jay” Magness, the Sixth Bishop Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries of The Episcopal Church.

“Bishop Magness has brought a new level of clarity, effectiveness, and responsiveness to the office, and has increased recruitment and raised awareness of the ministry of federal chaplains around The Episcopal Church,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “He will be difficult to replace, and I am grateful this careful process of seeking a successor has begun.”

Bishop Magness has served in this position since June 2010.

“While continuing to enjoy good health and the thorough satisfaction of this ministry, I am keenly aware that I am approaching the age of mandatory retirement,” Bishop Magness commented. “It has been a privilege to have served as the Sixth Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Services and Federal Ministries, and an honor to serve our chaplains and their families.  As we move into a promising future I am confident that our church will choose a wise leader as our Seventh Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Services and Federal Ministries.”

According to Article II Section 7 of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church, the Bishop Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries is elected by the House of Bishops and is a member of the staff of the Presiding Bishop. The bishop in this role is a suffragan to the Presiding Bishop, who, as primate and chief pastor of The Episcopal Church, holds ultimate constitutional and canonical responsibility for chaplaincies in the military and key federal institutions.

Currently a search committee is preparing the profile for the position. The election is slated for the House of Bishops meeting in Fall 2016 with the consecration currently scheduled for early 2017.

The position of Bishop Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries, formally known in the Constitution of The Episcopal Church as the Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces, includes not only the pastoral care and oversight for armed forces chaplains, military personnel and families, but also oversight of federal hospitals, prisons, and correctional facilities, as well as the Eucharist communities related to military installations.

Magness was elected by the House of Bishops as Bishop Suffragan on March 24, 2010. Previously, Magness served as the Canon for Mission and Diocesan Administration in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and in parish and diocesan ministry. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2003 in the rank of Captain, serving as command chaplain of U.S. Joint Forces Command and fleet chaplain for the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Prior to those assignments, from 1997 to 2000 he was on the Navy Chief of Chaplains’ staff as personnel manager of the Navy Chaplain Corps.

For more information contact Bishop Clay Matthews, Office of Pastoral Development, at cmatthews@episcopalchurch.org.

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