From the Providence Journal:
The Right Rev. Geralyn Wolf, who next month marks her 11th anniversary as Rhode Island’s Episcopal bishop, is getting married.
The bishop says that until she met her husband-to-be, Thomas Charles Bair Jr., at a visit last summer to St. John’s Parish, in Newport, she assumed she would always remain single.
But that changed when Bair, who runs his own financial-services company in New Paltz, N.Y., and who had come to help the Newport parish with its stewardship campaign, saw her there and invited her out for lunch.
Bishop Wolf, who is 59, says that toward the end of August, “I began to feel I had met a very special man, and he felt he met a special woman.”
It wasn’t until the end of October that the two became increasingly certain that they wanted to marry, and they kept the news from close friends and family members until recently. A letter to diocesan clergy was mailed Friday.
“My family is rejoicing and shocked at the same time,” the bishop said Thursday.
Although it is not common for a sitting Episcopal bishop to get married while heading a diocese, it is not unprecedented. Bishop Wolf noted that Bishop Carolyn Irish, the Episcopal bishop of Utah, married an old friend a few years ago. Bishop Wolf and her fiancé are planning to be wed at the Cathedral of St. John, Providence, on April 21, with the U.S. Episcopal Church’s former presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, officiating.
To reserve the cathedral for that day without tipping their hand, Bair requested use of the cathedral for that date for the purpose of holding a retreat. Staff members in on the secret developed the practice of referring to Bair not as the bishop’s fiancé, but as the “retreat director.”
Bishop Wolf acknowledged that even she was surprised by how it all developed.
“I’ve never had any suitors. When I went out with him, I told him it was my first date in 11 or 12 years. Nothing before was serious. I had always assumed I would remain single.”
Bair is a member of his parish vestry in New Paltz.
The marriage will be the second for Bair, who divorced 10 years ago and has two sons, ages 15 and 19. Bishop Wolf said that because of the divorce, they will need to get permission to marry from the Episcopal bishop of New York. They have already spoken at length about their plans with Bishop Griswold, who now lives in Philadelphia, and with the U.S. Episcopal Church’s new presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts-Schori.
Bishop Wolf said that by the time of the wedding, she and Bair will have received all the premarital counseling required by the church and “some more.”
Bishop Wolf said she hasn’t picked out a wedding dress as yet but plans on wearing a white A-line gown rather than her usual Episcopal garb.
“I think that on this one day, being a bride is more important than being a bishop,” she said. (...)
Read the complete article here.