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Lexington bishop is nominated by petition for Presiding Bishop post
Sauls tells diocese he's allowed process to go forward

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, bishop of the Diocese of Lexington  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, has told the members of his diocese that he will become a candidate for Presiding Bishop.

"I have come to the conclusion that I should allow my name to go forward for consideration by my colleagues, in whose judgment and faithfulness I have complete confidence," Sauls wrote in a letter mailed to the members of the diocese and posted March 13 on the diocesan website at

"They have convinced me that there are some things that would be brought to the table by my candidacy. For them, it seems to be being a person who believes the actions taken in 2003 were the right things to do and at the same time respects those who disagree and has worked very hard to listen and find a way forward, particularly in the House of Bishops."

Sauls said February 24 during his address to the 120th diocesan convention that he had been asked by colleagues to allow his name to be put forward and that he was discerning his reply.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop announced on January 25 a slate of four nominees to succeed Frank T. Griswold as Presiding Bishop. They are J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta; Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., Bishop of Kentucky; Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Nevada; and Henry N. Parsley, Jr., Bishop of Alabama. (Information about the nominees is available at

At the time of its announcement, the committee said that the House of Bishops had set a deadline of April 1 for additional nominations by petition. Canon I.2.1(e) of the church's Constitution and Canons allows a bishop or deputy to nominate any other bishop for consideration after the committee has announced its choices. The nominating committee then organizes the background, medical and psychological examinations required of all nominees.

The nominees will be formally submitted to the General Convention during its triennial meeting in Columbus, Ohio, at a joint session of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies on June 17. The House of Bishops will convene the next day at Trinity Episcopal Church, near the convention's venue (the Greater Columbus Convention Center), to elect the 26th Presiding Bishop. The House of Deputies will be asked to concur with the bishops' choice later in the day.

"I will be quite frank with you that one of the most troubling parts of coming to this decision for me has been my fear that I might inadvertently send a message to the people of our diocese that I had ceased to care for them or our ministry together," Sauls said. " I was particularly worried about that in light of the reality that my predecessor, Bishop Wimberly, had also been a candidate for Presiding Bishop [in 1997] and had left the diocese soon after not being elected.

"All I can do is assure you that my love for the people of this diocese and my excitement and enthusiasm for the ministry we share are unchanged," Sauls wrote.

Enclosed with Sauls' letter and posted on the website is his answer to a question posed to him by the nominating committee about why he was willing to enter the process. The text of the answer is available at

Full biographical information is available at

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

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The following is biographical information compiled by the Episcopal News Service.

Stacy F. Sauls, 50, was consecrated as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky) on September 30, 2000.

Sauls serves as a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons, and the Budgetary Funding Task Force. He is a member of the board of Forward Movement Publications, the Episcopal Media Center, and the American Committee for the Kiyosato Environmental Education Project (Japan.)

Two new congregations have begun in his tenure as bishop, including one designed by and for young adults. A third is in the early planning stages. Yet another congregation, near closing five years ago, is being successfully redeveloped in Northern Kentucky. Under Sauls' leadership, the diocese hosted the 2004 Provincial Youth Event, which resulted in the building of St. Timothy's Youth Outreach Center at the diocesan mission at Barnes Mountain, Kentucky. The diocese hosted the 2003 national Episcopal Hispanic Youth Event at Berea College, and the 2005 Episcopal Youth Event, also at Berea College.

Sauls is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, where his family has lived since the 18th century. He was born on December 9, 1955 to Kenneth and Joyce Ballard Sauls, now deceased. He moved with his family to the New Jersey suburbs when his father was transferred to New York City in 1962. When he was 15, he and his mother moved back to Atlanta to be closer to family after his parents' divorce. He graduated from Headland High School in 1973 and went on to attend Furman University, where he majored in political science.

It was at Furman that Sauls met his future wife, Ginger Malone, of Clinton, South Carolina. Sauls graduated from Furman summa cum laude in 1977 and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to attend the University of Virginia School of Law, which was his other vocational interest, with the intention of going to seminary following graduation. He graduated from Virginia in 1980, a member of the Order of the Coif.

Sauls accepted a federal court clerkship with Judge Robert Hall and went on to practice in the corporate law department of Delta Air Lines and briefly in the newly formed firm of Phillips, Hinchey and Reid. He left the practice of law to enter the General Theological Seminary in 1985, from which he graduated cum laude with a master's in divinity in 1988.

Sauls was ordained a deacon in 1988 at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta and priest in 1989 at St. George's Church in Griffin, Georgia, where he served as assistant to the rector. He also began a more than ten-year tenure leading the Diocese of Atlanta's senior high camp. Sauls was called to be rector of St. Thomas' Church in Savannah in 1990, and by St. Bartholomew's Church to be its rector in 1994, bringing the Sauls family back to Stacy's hometown.

The Sauls were investigating opportunities to serve as missionaries in South Africa when he was elected Bishop of Lexington from a field of four candidates on the second ballot in 2000.

Ginger and Stacy Sauls were married on August 11, 1979. Ginger has been a special education teacher for 27 years, and currently directs the personal learning program at the Sayre School of Lexington. She is a founder of the diocesan Reading Camp program. Their oldest son Andrew, adopted from Korea in 1984, plans to follow his mother as a teacher and expects to continue his college education at the University of Kentucky in the fall. Their second son Matthew, adopted from Korea in 1987, is a freshman at the University of Alabama. Three dogs are a part of the family: two Labrador retrievers, Griffin and Annie, and one "other," Dottie.