The Diocese of Olympia Elects the Rev. Phil LaBelle as Its Ninth Bishop

SEATTLE, WA (May 18, 2024): The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia has elected the Rev. Phil N. LaBelle as its next bishop. Bishop-Elect LaBelle currently serves as rector of St. Mark’s Church in Southborough, Massachusetts. While in the Diocese of Massachusetts, he co-led the Mission Strategy Committee, served on the Executive Committee and Diocesan Council, and directed the Fresh Start program. Bishop-Elect LaBelle will be consecrated and installed as the ninth bishop of Olympia on September 14, succeeding Bishop Greg Rickel, who resigned on December 31, 2022, and Bishop Provisional Melissa Skelton, who serves in the interim.

“The very first thing that struck me about the Diocese of Olympia was hearing about your deep love for Jesus,” Bishop-Elect LaBelle said upon learning of his election. “Further, the desire to share that love in a predominately secular culture became all the more apparent throughout the search process, especially with the connection made between the gospel message and the intention to become the Beloved Community and to protect and heal our natural world. I am deeply honored to be called to be your bishop, to be a faithful pastor among you, and to help care for and equip the people of the Episcopal Church in Western Washington in your mission to share Jesus’ love.”

Bishop-Elect LaBelle was elected by clergy and lay delegates representing the nearly 100 worshiping communities within the Diocese of Olympia. The special electing convention was held on May 18 at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, WA, where delegates gathered to choose from a bishop slate of four nominees. He was elected on the fourth round of balloting with 91 clergy votes and 119 lay votes. Seventy-six clergy votes, and 113 lay votes were needed to be elected.

The Most Rev. Melissa Skelton, Bishop Provisional in the Diocese of Olympia, presided over the electing convention. “I’m deeply gratified that the lay and clergy delegates of the Diocese have spoken,” said Bishop Skelton. “I join with the electing convention in looking forward to the consent process and the ordination of Bishop-Elect LaBelle as the ninth diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Olympia on September 14.”

The other nominees were the Rev. Dr. Hillary D. Raining, rector of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania; the Ven. Jordan Haynie Ware, Archdeacon for Justice, Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, Canada, and rector of Good Shepherd Anglican Church, Edmonton, Canada; and the Rev. Kate E. Wesch, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, Connecticut.

Watch the Electing Convention

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia has begun the search for its ninth Bishop of Olympia. Follow along with our search process and get the latest news and updates here at our official transition website.