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VIRGINIA: Bishop Peter Lee taken to hospital for observation after possible stroke
Full recovery is expected, diocesan spokesman says

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, 12th Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, was hospitalized November 7 for what doctors believe may have been a minor stroke.

Lee, 68, was voting with his wife, Kristy, before 9 a.m. when he experienced "some mild disorientation" that concerned them both enough for them to go to the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, diocesan secretary Peter Getlein told ENS just before 1 p.m. (EST).

Tests were performed on Lee in the emergency room and he was later admitted for 24 hours for observation, Getlein said, adding that he spoke with Lee by telephone from the hospital between 9 and 9:15 a.m. and he sounded "very good."

Getlein said the diocesan offices learned of the situation when Kristy Lee called from the hospital.

Getlein said he has not talked with the bishop since the first phone call but "he's already called his secretary four times and dictated a letter, so I think he's going to be just fine."

A scheduled November 9 meeting of the Executive Board, the diocese's governing body between annual Council meetings, is still on the calendar, Getlein said.

Getlein said Lee's health has been good since he recovered from triple bypass surgery on his heart in January 2005.

Phones and emails for all over the diocese and the world flooded into the diocesan offices as news of Lee's hospitalization became known, Getlein said. The well-wishers included a Virginia priest serving as a military chaplain in Iraq who wrote to say that Lee was in the prayers of all the Virginians serving in the war.

The diocese posted a short statement from Getlein earlier in the day.

On January 27, 2006, Lee told the 211th annual Diocesan Council that he planned to retire by 2010 and called for the election of a coadjutor. His successor is due to be elected on January 27, 2007 and consecrated on May 26, 2007 at Washington National Cathedral.

The Diocese of Virginia comprises about 90,000 Episcopalians worshipping in 195 congregations. The diocesan profile says the diocese has planted 16 congregations in the last ten years, and has 450 clergy, six schools, six diocesan homes, two conference centers and a budget of nearly $4.3 million dollars.