The Rev. Canon James Mathes, a native of Texas who currently serves as canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Chicago, was elected fourth Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego at a special convention held November 13 at St. Paul's Cathedral, San Diego.
Mathes, who will succeed Bishop Gethin Hughes, will be consecrated on March 5 at the Town and Country Convention Center. Hughes, who will be on sabbatical leave between now and the end of February, will officially retire on March 5.
During the nominating process, the bishop-elect said he is committed to "the ministry of the church to all the people of God," expressing hope that the people of the diocese would "talk with each other and not at each other."
Mathes was elected by a narrow margin from among 7 candidates on the third ballot. From the first ballot it was clear that there were two main candidates: Bishop Anthony Burton of the Canadian diocese of Saskatchewan, and Mathes. The election will be finalized when a majority of the Standing Committees and bishops of the other dioceses in the United States give their consent.
"I thank the other nominees, candidates, and their spouses who blessed me and taught me much through their participation in the discernment process," Mathes said. "I especially thank the people of the Diocese of San Diego for their confidence in me. I pray that together we can build a team for mission that will transform us and the communities that make up the diocese."
In Chicago, Mathes directs deployment, congregational development and the administration of the diocese's 130 congregations. He guided a strategic planning process that resulted in a $1.6 million grant from the Lily Foundation for a clergy-mentoring program.
Raised in Texas, Mathes holds degrees from the University of the South and Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1991. He is married to wife, Teri, and they have two children, Lee (18) and Sara (15).
The diocese is composed of almost 50 parishes and mission congregations and encompasses San Diego, Imperial and part of Riverside Counties, California, and Yuma County, Arizona.