After devoting nearly four decades of his life to his role as rector of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Long Beach, Calif., the Rt. Rev. William A. Thompson will focus his full attention on being bishop of the Diocese of Western Anglicans.
The Diocese was formed in April of 2009 and includes 28 parishes and church plants stretching from southern California to Washington state and as far east as Wyoming. In addition to his work to support the growing Diocese, Bishop Thompson serves the Anglican Church in North America in numerous ways, including leading the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force.
“When I was consecrated bishop, I had no way of realizing how consuming it would be. To be fair to both positions, I’m choosing to focus on this role and allow All Saints’ to enjoy the benefits of a full-time rector. We haven’t selected a new rector here since the mid-70s; it’s kind of exciting,” said Bishop Thompson in his announcement to the diocesan House of Delegates.
Bishop Thompson moved into the rector role at All Saints’ just before his 29th birthday. He’s seen the congregation grow and change during his tenure and says, “The parish has always been very strong. While the property litigation we’re facing has been going on now for eight years, we knew the risk of our decision and chose to take a stand for the authority of Scripture anyway.”
Bishop Thompson asked that those in the Province pray for All Saints’ and St. David’s in North Hollywood, which is part of the litigation as well, and whatever transition the congregations may be facing due to court decisions. He also asked for prayers that the right person at this time and place will be called to be the next rector of All Saints’, noting that God is already preparing that person for being part of the church. “Our congregation needs a rector who really understands what’s going on in the movement and how to bring All Saints’ to the next level.”
Sunday, July 1 will be Thompson’s last day in the dual roles of rector and bishop, to be marked with a liturgy of passing the mantle as well as celebrating his 37 years as rector. His diocesan office will remain on the premises of All Saints’. Pending completion of the search process, Fr. Don White will serve as priest-in-charge after serving on All Saints’ clergy staff for almost nine years.
In moving into a full-time diocesan role, Bishop Thompson’s prayer is that “all 28 congregations would feel united in the work they’re doing for the Gospel from San Diego, Calif., to Sheridan, Wyo., and everywhere in between.”