Dennis Named New York Suffragan

Episcopal News Service. [79194]

NEW YORK -- Lay and clerical delegates asserted control over a special convention of the Diocese of New York and selected a priest nominated from the floor to be suffragan bishop in the diocese.

The Rev. Canon Walter Decoster Dennis, Jr., 46, won election on the third ballot, having maintained a commanding lead from the first vote. The bishop-elect has been canon residentiary of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine since 1965 and is widely known in the Church as an advocate of social issues.

Canon Dennis was nominated from the floor along with two others: the Rev. Canon Mary Michael Simpson, OSH and the Rev. Lloyd Uyeki, a parish priest in the diocese. The three were placed in nomination after the convention's nominating committee had proposed a slate of three men: The Ven. Robert Chapman, archdeacon of the diocese; the Rev. William Wipfler of the National Council of Churches and the Rev. Heron Sam of the Diocese of Long Island.

Canon Simpson, a colleague of Canon Dennis in New York, is the first woman to be formally nominated for the episcopate since that possibility was legalized at the 1976 General Convention.

If all consents are obtained, Canon Dennis will probably be consecrated in the fall and join Diocesan Bishop Paul Moore, Jr. and Suffragan Bishop J. Stuart Wetmore in the pastoral oversight of the diocese. He replaces the Rt. Rev. Harold Louis Wright who died last year.

Canon Dennis holds degrees from Virginia State College, New York University and Union and General Seminaries in New York. He has served parishes in New York and Virginia. He is active nationally as a member of the National Hunger Committee and in organizations for the reform of marijuana laws and abortion and homosexuality study.