The Bishop of West Texas

Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, died in San Antonio on April 9, 2005

Scott Field Bailey


The Board of Archives of the Episcopal Church notes with profound sadness the passing of The Right Reverend Scott Field Bailey. Bishop Bailey, a priest of many accomplishments, was a great advocate of the history and archival heritage of the Episcopal Church. He was instrumental in establishing The Archives of the Episcopal Church as an official agency of the General Convention and for its re-location to Austin in the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest. His long tenure as Chair of the Board of Archives brought continuity and stability to the Archives in its formative years. As a historian, he made contributions both written and orally to the history of the Church and his place among those who cared for the church's story will always be celebrated and remembered. We give thanks to God for his life and ministry of leadership.


The Rt. Rev. Scott Field Bailey, Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, died in San Antonio on April 9, 2005. Bishop Bailey was born October 7, 1916 in Houston where he received his early education. He graduated from Rice University in 1938 and then attended The University of Texas Law School prior to choosing to go into the ministry. In 1942 he received his Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Clinton S. Quin of Texas.

As a priest, Bailey became rector of several Texas parishes. His ministry began in 1942 at St. Pauls’s Church,Waco where he was associate rector as well as priest-in-charge of St. Mary’s Church, Lampasas. He married Evelyn Louise Williams in 1943 and entered the Navy as a chaplain that same year, eventually serving in the South Pacific Theater. In 1946, he became rector of Christ Church, Nacogdoches, and priest-in-charge of Christ Church, San Augustine. He was called to serve as rector of All Saint’s Church in Austin in 1951 and Director of Episcopal Student Activities at the University of Texas. Also in Austin, Bishop Bailey founded St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and was active in the life of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.

In 1961, Bishop Bailey was designated Canon to the Ordinary and moved to the Diocesan headquarters in Houston. He served as Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Texas from 1964 until 1975 when he was named Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of West Texas. Upon the retirement of Bishop Gosnell in 1977, Bishop Bailey was installed as the Bishop of the Diocese of West Texas facing two divisive problems of the day: the final approval of the new Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women. The new BCP had been tried and tested for 25 years, and Bailey declared it a "grand compromise" in its retention of Rite 1 as the most beloved section of the 1928 Prayer Book, and Rite 2 as offering a new look; with both offering something for everyone. In 1979, when the last hurdle for adoption was passed, he ordered it into use immediately. The ordination of women was a different matter in that Bishop Bailey believed that Church unity was far more important than the gender of priests.

Bishop Bailey came into his term at a time when the decline of confirmations and receptions was widespread in the Episcopal Church. One of his greatest points of accomplishment was that during his ten year tenure, he established 10 new parishes in West Texas. Bishop Bailey retired as Bishop of West Texas in 1987 and then made his home in San Antonio.

He served as Secretary to the House of Bishops from 1967 until 1986, and served as Executive Officer of the General Convention from 1974 to 1976. Bishop Bailey was close friends and advisor to presiding bishops John Allin and John Hines, who often disagreed politically, and is often credited with being a reconciler between the two. From 1967 to1986 he served as President of the Church Historical Society and as Chairman of the Board of the Archives of the Episcopal Church from its inception in 1985 until 1996.

Bishop Bailey is survived by his wife, four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Funeral services were held Wednesday, April 13, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in San Antonio.