August 27: +Harry Lee Doll (1984)

In Epiphany’s 175-year history, eight clergy associated with the church have gone on to become bishops. Four of these were rectors and four were assistant rectors. One of the assistants was Harry Lee Doll. After initially considering a career as a physician, Doll changed course after graduating from William and Mary and pursued a divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. In 1933, Doll was married, ordained a priest and began his clerical career as an assistant rector at the Church of the Epiphany. After two years, Doll was called as rector of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He served parishes in Texas and Maryland before being elected bishop suffragan (and later coadjutor) of the Diocese of Maryland. His institution as the tenth bishop of Maryland was on November 22, 1963, the same day as President Kennedy’s assassination.

Doll’s ministry was marked by deep commitment in several areas of church and community. The civil rights movement swept across the country during his episcopate. Doll called it “the greatest religious issue of our time, not only in this nation but in the world.” He fostered close ecumenical ties with the Roman Catholic authorities in Baltimore. He supported the Episcopal Church’s move towards a new prayer book and women’s ordination. His middle daughter, Mary Chotard Doll, became a priest and was an early contender for bishop. In 1986 in a special diocesan convention held at Epiphany, Mary lost the election for suffragan bishop of Washington to Ronald Haines. Three years later, Barbara Harris would became the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion.

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