The Very Rev Brian Kendall Burgess

from the Diocese of New Jersey

View this profile as a pdf.







Lay Nomination

James Hinman
St. Lukes Church-Fort Myers FL, Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida

How long, and in what capacity, have you known the nominee?

I have known Brian Burgess for over 40 years in a progressing relationship of mentor, colleague, and friend. We met in 1979, at which time I was a high school band director in North Fort Myers, FL. Brian was a student at Edison Community College, pursuing his goal to become a music educator. In his endeavor to develop his skills and insight beyond the confines of the classroom, he sought out a local high school band program in which he could become immersed not only in the application of his learned skills, but also in the day-to-day interactions, management, relationships, and insights which may only be acquired through practical on-site experience. My program was blessed to be the one selected by Brian to share his skills and passion for teaching these young aspiring musicians. Brian ultimately completed his education at Ball State University where he served in the leadership capacity of Drum Major for the Marching Band, the Pride of Mid America. In 1984, he was hired as the band director at North Fort Myers High School. I had moved to the position of District Music Administrator and we now worked together as colleagues, interacting frequently on matters of music, education, service, and more. As Brian ultimately yielded to God’s calling to serve Him through His Church, we have continued our relationship as friends, talking frequently of memories and experiences and our role as “the Church” in continuing to serve those whom He places before us.

What gifts do you feel the nominee has for the ministry and office of a Bishop?

From the moment you meet Brian, you like him. He has an engaging smile and presence that draws you in and makes you comfortable. The more you get to know him, the more you realize the sincerity with which he interacts with people and the passion with which he pursues his mission, whatever it may be at any given point. His mind is always active in determining how best to serve the needs of others and in developing a course of action to accomplish his goals. In perusing his parish’s newsletter, you will find it to be a testimony to the nature of Brian’s leadership, planning, and organizational skills. It is packed with examples of a community presence and outreach, updates on everything from acolyte activities and choristers to high school graduates and vestry actions. There are articles of historical and traditional significance, staff member profiles, guidelines dealing with the pandemic, promotions for the parish picnic and more. And… if you can look beyond the masks…. Everyone is smiling and enthusiastically engaged. The focus is not about Brian and what he can do, it is about those who have been inspired to serve Christ through His Church. Whatever expectations might be held for the ministry and office of a Bishop, that “person” must first possess the God-given gifts of love and service to others that Brian Burgess has consistently demonstrated throughout the forty-plus years that I have had the pleasure of knowing him.

Why do you believe this person would be a capable leader of the Diocese of Springfield?

Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. When I reflect upon the most desirable attributes of a leader, verses like Philippians 2:3-4 come to mind. Jesus did not lead his followers on the path to salvation with the style of a warrior king, but rather as a humble servant. He did not live in a palace surrounded by walls and guards, but He lived among them. When I reflect upon the life and service of Brian Burgess, I attribute his success not to power and authority, but to the love and respect of those around him, whoever they may be. He genuinely loved his students. He spent countless hours beyond those expected to tutor, support, and fellowship with them. He genuinely loves his parishioners and truly lives among them. He is actively present and involved in all that he expects them to do. He inspires, he leads, he empowers them, and he praises them. He passionately loves Christ and us, His Church, and lives to share that passion with others, wherever it may lead him. If you share this vision of an appropriate leader for the Diocese of Springfield, I encourage you to consider the application of Brian K. Burgess as your next Bishop.


Clergy Nomination

Edmund Zelley
Rector St. Luke’s Metuchen, NJ Current President of Diocese of NJ Standing Committee

How long, and in what capacity, have you known the nominee?

I have known Fr. Burgess for 16 years as colleagues in the same deanery when he arrived here in NJ. We are also close friends and confidants and not only minister and pray together, but have been known to go to a ballgame together as well.

What gifts do you feel the nominee has for the ministry and office of a Bishop?

Fr. Burgess has a deep love for our Lord and a commitment to strengthening the ministry and witness of the local congregations. He is collaborative in ministry, a caring pastor and highly organized and a great communicator. He would be a pastor to the pastors and an a resource for the lay leadership. A

Why do you believe this person would be a capable leader of the Diocese of Springfield?

As I read your profile, everything you talk about wanting and hoping for in a Bishop I have personally witnessed in Fr. Burgess. He would be invested in being the Bishop of Springfield, not just the Office of Bishop. How you describe your life as a Diocese is exactly what Fr. Burgess hopes for in the church. He would be able to build relationships among parishes and help to strengthen the ministry of each individual church, seeing those strengths as the strength of the Diocese.


From the Office for Transition Ministry Profile

Describe a moment in your recent ministry that you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.

In 2019, Christ Church welcomed over 80 uniformed firefighters and their families for a service of solemn Evensong in commemoration of Saint Florian, their patron. Fourteen years ago, we started with a meeting that included local public safety officials, a respected local physician, the President of the Gloucester County Fire Chiefs Association, and myself. Together, we planned an annual observance that would bring sworn firefighters from over 50 jurisdictions before the altar in order to sanctify what they accomplish on our behalf. Our observance has grown to the point that numerous response vehicles now encircle the church for blessing and a variety of engine companies are welcomed in the name of Christ. After the rite of blessing, we assemble within the courtyard of the local fire company, and then process down the street and into the church behind cross, vested choir, honor guard and a company of pipes and drums. Our community welcomes this expression of the Church Triumphant and looks upon it as an invitation to be courageous in their faith. The Saint Florian Medal of Mercy is awarded to the firefighter who has demonstrated the human capacity to bear forth the image of God.


Describe your liturgical style and practice.

Our Prayer Book liturgical tradition is the most evangelical tool we have. Traditional observances of rite and ceremony are how we have weathered centuries of stormy seas, and they provide a compass for how I teach faith and practice while encouraging the proper wearing of the armor of God. We are brought to the very threshold of the kingdom of God each time we allow our individual voices to subside and the voice of our tradition to speak. It is within that particular expression of God’s mercy, grace, and favor that I stand before the altar. That being said, I am comfortable and fulfilled whenever prayer book rites call us to be a people of common prayer. Church architecture plays a significant role in defining rite and ceremony and I stand aside, allowing that particular expression of sacred liturgy to make its fullest statement. We are unique in our liturgical tradition having been invited over the centuries to engage difficult thoughts being spoken so well. As a prayer book catholic, I stand firmly on the premise that if you want to know what Anglicans teach you have to worship with them.


How do you practice incorporating others in ministry?

Listening with my eyes. I demonstrate and encourage a proficiency in looking across the room to see who it is that leans into opportunities to serve or who possesses sanctuary feet. We identify the gift publicly and then usher them across the threshold of education, training or preparation that is intended to grant each success. We also concern ourselves with the visual that is being conveyed; adults teach and equip, children carry and serve. Maturing and graduating are just as important to healthy servant ministry as is stability. Lay ministry leaders are first and foremost a people of Holy Eucharist. Their calling is to equip and raise up other servant leaders. There are no secret doorways. Opportunities for engaging ministry are always communicated in a manner that allow parishioners time to prayerfully discern their involvement and length of commitment while considering the clearly defined expectations of time, talent, and treasure. Parish ministry is never accomplished under duress, and it should be funded, marketed, upheld in prayer, and held to the same level of accountability expected when engaging other priorities of our consecrated lives.


How do you care for your spiritual, emotional and physical well-being?

I remain faithful to the expectation that I observe the Daily Offices, continue frequent reception of the sacrament of the altar, make my confession to a discreet and understanding priest, and by constantly reinvesting myself into my family. We watch what we eat and drink, and I maintain a regiment of exercise as the means of alleviating stress. The close personal friends that I do have are life-long companions who share in the same vocational demands of living very public lives. Along with my family, they hold me accountable to the vows I have made at my Confirmation, wedding and Ordination. I schedule annual retreats and seek out opportunity to engage intellectually stimulating continuing education. After 20 years, I have rediscovered the joy of licensed amateur radio operation. I don’t overly complicate my life; walks and park grills are just fine. My wife and children are truly my best friends and the reason I remain a man of integrity, thanksgiving, and honor. As a means of maintaining a healthy equilibrium, I have begun to revisit the percussion solos, etudes, and concertos that I spent so many hours learning as an undergraduate music major at Ball State University.


Describe your involvement in either the wider Church or geographical community.

I have the privilege of serving my fifth three-year term as dean of my three-county Convocation. I have also served on the Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation; was elected to a seat on Diocesan Council, served on Standing Committee, and have also completed the Clergy Leadership Project as presented by Trinity Church Wall Street, New York. I was elected to a three-year term as clerical trustee to the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn on behalf of the Associated Alumni, and I stand as Episcopal Chaplain to Inspira Hospital within the City of Woodbury. For the past ten years, I have been invited to stand as chaplain over the Hospital Foundation Board’s Gala in Philadelphia, offering prayer and benediction over the evening’s festivities. Each year on the Feast of the Holy Cross, we invite the Episcopal and Roman Catholic clergy of our community with their bishops to join us in the rectory for an evening reception, dinner, and the Office of sung Compline within the church. Active in our downtown Chamber of Commerce, I maintain membership within the Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club; and have performed within the South Jersey Philharmonic as a percussionist.


How do you engage in pastoral care for others?

Engaging in pastoral care for others requires being present in their lives. In our tradition, the parish is defined by the more inclusive geographical boundaries rather than the often incomplete limits of a mailing list. The rectory dining room is considered an important place for gathering and giving thanks for the lives and ministries of those who complete us. Hospital, nursing home, assisted living and home visits remain a high priority as I go about the sacramental ministry of the Church. Being a discreet and understanding priest to other priests and deacons is my passion. Pastoral care, to include the administrating of Holy Unction and private Communion, is the responsibility of the clergy. However, licensing devout and supportive lay Eucharistic ministers extends this reach in interest of pastoraly strong, loving faith communities. Raising up office volunteers and part-time paid professionals to assist in administrative responsibilities allows me to focus on pastoral concerns and sacramental ministries entrusted to the priesthood. I look forward to the day when a deacon of the Church joins me in this expression of holy encounter with the world Jesus Christ came to redeem.


Tell about a ministry project that exists because of your leadership. What was your role in its creation? Who can be contacted?

During our sesquicentennial anniversary year, we adopted the mission church of St. Luke’s in Woodstown, NJ, and completely renovated their education wing, parish hall, and replaced windows in their church. During this period of collaboration, we were introduced to the son of one of their senior members, who is a missionary on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. After prayerful conversation with parish leadership, we set the goal of designating our annual Lenten collection for the purpose of sending missionary teams to work alongside him in the foreign mission field. That Lenten collection continues to inform our missiology today by inviting the identification of particular mission priorities and then fully funding our sending of youth and adult missionaries into the face of those priorities. In 2011, we took 300 hand assembled first-aid kits into the villages of Ometepe, and were awarded a $285,000 grant from Kingsway Charities to stock a free medical clinic with pharmaceuticals. In 2016, we began committing a week each November to the work and mission of Grace House on the Mountain within the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. Anita Boyd: Grace House on the Mountain.


How are you preparing yourself for the Church of the future?

Remaining technologically current allows me the intentional time and space to remain a priest who knows each parishioner’s name and writes handwritten notes. I embrace new technology as long as it encourages us to be disciples of Christ in new and more productive ways. To this end, I continue learning and can be persuaded to take steps that were only imaginable 10 years ago. Technology is fast becoming what isolates us one from the other. We have learned under pandemic conditions how electronic means fall short of being Incarnational or Eucharistic which means they are incapable of forgiving or forgetting. My interest lies in engaging ministry more proficiently so that I may be present in the lives of others. Being with young people invigorates me as I want to be more like them in their outlook and embrace of our potential. I strive to model my life and vocation after those priests who have spent their entire lives peering into Holy Mystery and now reflect the glory of that encounter through their faces and consecrated lives. Their future was no different than ours; only their avenues of technological advancement were different.


What is your personal practice of stewardship and how do you utilize it to influence your ministry in your worshipping community?

My wife and I begin the conversation of stewardship with the tithe of our income. Looking back, we no longer recognize the family that used to fear giving of themselves so completely for the priorities of God’s kingdom. We are a much stronger and more faithful family because we approach the altar with open and outstretched hands rather than clenched fists. Our financial health has actually increased because we no longer engage distractions that cunningly promise affluence and security but always allude both. We are rich beyond measure because we have been embraced by the God of abundance. It is from this location of freedom that we consider our gifts of time, talent and treasure as an offering within the parish rather than a statement for reimbursement. Stewardship is an opportunity to stretch ourselves financially so that we may participate in Christ’s miracle of multiplication.


What is your experience of conflict involving the church? And what is your experience in addressing it?

Having inherited a staff member who missed deadlines, rejected technology, and was not able to produce work satisfactory to the corporation’s expectations, turbulent water needed navigating. Rather then engage assigned continuing education opportunities the employee considered herself immune to any accountability. We documented, attempted to retool, provided various accommodations, and orchestrated an attractive retirement package only to face insubordination and theft of time. Upon the advice of a labor attorney, we terminated the employee and prepared ourselves for the process of mediation following her filing suit against us. We saved tens of thousands of dollars in insurance settlement because standards and expectations were clearly and fairly communicated. Sadly, lawsuits are a real and present challenge in the church. Because they are, we must remain a divine institution that concerns itself with reconciliation, healing and amendment of life. This experience has taught me how to be the safety net underneath those who walk a tight rope on behalf of the kingdom of God. Every congregation, office, and diocese is conflicted. This is the reason for the cross of Christ.


What is your experience leading/addressing change in the church? When has it gone well? When has it gone poorly? And what did you learn?

The community of faith is intended to be on exodus rather than encamped. For those who dream the dreams of God, change brings with it challenges that have the potential of disrupting the voice of our common prayer if not navigated charitably. I include the wisdom of those with particular expertise. Their specific contribution allows for the disarming of personalities and invites the opportunity to see the new direction as life giving. My experience has taught me that if a particular change is required, it is most likely in response to some level of discomfort that must be addressed. Be clear and open about the discomfort. Nothing worthy of our praise and admiration should be accomplished in the dark. I’ve learned that as the parish or diocese witnesses you honoring their traditions and preserving their history, they have a higher degree of trust when confronted with the challenge of navigating change. I take the time necessary to communicate priorities, teach best practices, invite others into the process, and listen. I must show those with a vested interest that I am flexible and can be proven wrong in my own limited assessment.


Two Recent Sermons

The Memorial Mass for Dale Tackkett
Romans 8:14-19, 34-35, 37-39 John 14:1-6

I am certain that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Each Friday morning, friends would gather at a table for two over breakfast at the Amish Market in Mullica Hill. It was uninterrupted time, special time, sacred time. And regardless of how often that liturgy took place, others knew not to interrupt.

Was it scheduled? Yes. Predictable? No. I would see Dale at that table, and knew enough about our clock and our Calendar not to interrupt. Even in his progressing dementia, Dale was focused on the matters at hand. He was remembering, he was dreaming the dreams of God and as it is we do today, there was breaking of bread.

This ability to keep holy day was not by accident, but by intense practice; and eventually, by muscle memory. The final piece of the puzzle came together for me over a week ago when I learned how Dale was a master machinist. That was his vocation. He literally concerned himself with integral parts made up of minute measurements and containing exacting detail in order to make other things work as they were needed and intended. There was no room for error. Precision was actually his vocation because that literally was all that stood between success and failure; often, it was what stood between life and death. Consider for a moment a part no more that 3/4 of an inch in length that a jet engine must have to operate properly and safely.

Dale was at once a scientist, mathematician, engineer, and artist. All of those needed sciences together made him a theologian as well. If we are truly made in the image and likeness of God, then I can well imagine Dale taking a moment after machining a very complicated part in order to witness how its purpose and its intention, and its creation is good. Just a moment to run his hands over it and to feel its perfection.

In those many and varied moments, Dale was the one who had not only the eyes to see, but the spirit and Wisdom to look deep inside; to understand complexities and how it is acts of creation are still necessary and called forward by God. This might sound a bit sophomoric, but I sleep better at night knowing that a devout churchman is machining parts for all that flies above my head.

What Dale did surpassed even the technology of our day. Why? Because rather than program a computer to make the precision cut, groove, or necessary channel, Dale had to feel, and commit himself to a particular action even if too minute or microscopic to see with the human eye. He had to trust in his God given skills, his God given intellect, and his God given will to commit and to know that all will come out as intended. He had to stand there and not only be part of what it was he was creating, but to take ownership of it once it was done.

And we all benefitted of the same spiritual discipline in his churchmanship. He understood the complexities of being the Church – a divine institution with a zip code. Which means that the physical is needed in order to make whole what has come down from on high. He would make time to listen, all the time evaluating what may be needed to keep well and functioning this temporal expression of heaven having come down to earth. If he needed it – he would make it. Where in error, he would direct it. If it was in want, he provided for it.

All of us are parish and mission leaders in one way or another. We have been entrusted with the complexities that go into maintaining holy order. Each of us has concern over a particular function, ministry, reach, or operation. At times, doing nothing is called for. Which is really the hardest response of all – to do nothing. Simply because we have this innate human need to want to be useful rather than faithful. At other times, providing for what is broken calls forward our very best and most capable skills.

Perhaps this is why Dale was elected time and time again to be junior warden of his home parish of St. Paul’s in Coffyville, Kansas. Not because he knew which end of the screwdriver to hold, but because at times he knew enough to do nothing. And when needed, he knew how to provide for what was in want. Again, order out of chaos which is the continuing act of creation that calls the very best we have to be brought forward.

Now, no one came here today to eulogize Dale into the kingdom of God. May God have mercy upon us if that were our only hope. No! We came to peer into an empty tomb at Easter and hear our voices reverberate to the ages of ages. We came to proclaim that Christ is risen from the dead and that death has been conquered and pushed aside of us like the waters of the Red Sea. Joyfully, with Christ leading the way, we, too, pass through this sacred time and this sacred space with unmoistened foot as we make our way toward Promise together.

For this reason alone, Dale has triumphed and will triumph when Christ returns in glorious majesty. He embraced the Church in all its complexities as the ark of salvation. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less. And he feared not when the seas began beating against the gunnels to the point that even his memory darkened – when all was sun setting beyond recognizing any familiar landmarks. Landmarks so flimsily erected by ourselves.

And so, we gather as we do today. We light candles, we pour wine, and we break bread. There is no clearer articulation of the Promise that has been embedded in each of us at our Baptisms than to stand before this altar in Woodstown, New Jersey as a community of Holy Eucharist – as a community of resurrection.

This is our opportunity to put down what it is we do in order to embrace what it is we are becoming. We are here because God’s might, majesty, and dominion will be made known – even in death – especially in death – now and forever, world without end. Amen.

Even at this moment – during this time that we love but see no longer – the embrace of Christ is secure. Our prayer of thanksgiving has nothing to do with Dale’s hanging on. Our prayer of thanksgiving today is in recognition of almighty God who will never, ever let go. This is the feast of the victory of our God.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and take you to myself.


Proper 6 – Year B III Pentecost
Ezekiel 31:1-6, 10-14 Psalm 92:1-4, 11-14 II Corinthians 5:1-10 Mark 4:26-34

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. (Mark 4:33)

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Being post modern people, we are planners. We want to know how all this will turn out and so we make plans – to the best of our ability. Which most likely is the inception of a great deal of our stress – living in the tension of our plans not coming to fruition. At least, not as we intend for those plans to unfold. For you see, with our planning comes the shallow promise of being able to dictate outcomes. A technically trained person working virtually from home has a different opinion about guaranteed outcomes than does a farmer quietly walking the drought conditions of his land. Walking, listening, and feeling with the worn out soles of his or her boots. Today, we are that farmer.

Many of you remember how not too long ago we sent missionaries from this parish to Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. On one trip our missionaries met a little girl who would awaken each and every morning before the sun rose to collect the water for her household for that day. She walked barefoot over four miles each way to fill her jug and then return home. Laughing, singing and genuinely happy in the entire enterprise of living her life. All this before she donned her one uniform to walk another four miles to school.

This little girl planned nothing. She lived in the moment (whatever that moment required of her to be), and she rejoiced in the blessings of having fresh water and a uniform to wear. Perhaps the unhappiness, the discontent that buries us from above is all that we heap upon ourselves; all in the name of convenience, progress, security, profit, and a better life for ourselves.

If we are such proficient planners, than why do we live under such duress? Why does so much allude us on a regular basis? Perhaps the desire we all have to orchestrate our own futures serves only to remove us from where it is we are located and needed now. Perhaps it takes us out of the moment we have been given by God right now.


If we were to engage in an adult forum Bible study today, I would project one question as a PowerPoint slide to the wall. And yes, that one question, that one point of theological intrigue resides deeply within the gospel lesson assigned to the Church today. I would ask that we all consider the question: “Where do you want to be buried?” Not, “Where are you going to be buried?” or, “Where can you afford to be buried?” But, “Where do you want your consecrated remains to be buried?”

Being those with an affinity for planning and selfpreservation, while living under the 100% certainty that death is a sure thing, I am amazed how many faithful churchmen and women have no idea where it is they want to be buried. The distribution of the estate to include the revered West Point class ring or great-grandmother’s Hoosier cabinet, yes! But not the first thought or direction as to where it is they want to be buried.

This detail of our exodus together is that important. Because where it is you are buried is were it is you will rise in Christ on that last great day of his coming in glorious majesty. Today we rise with Christ (over and over and over again) before this altar. On that last great day we rise in Christ where and when he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. So, there is now and there is then, and both moments have as their greatest priority the Kingdom of God.


Ok, I’ll go first. I want to be buried within the churchyard at Sewanee – atop the Cumberland Mountain plateau on the campus of my seminary. There, regardless of the politic of the moment, gowned undergraduates scurry through stone archways on their way to physics, statistics, or various literature classes. The bell tolls each hour. At times it will command the entire campus to stop what they are doing and stand as consecrated remains are being led out of the chapel to their final resting place. I want to be buried next to war widows and war heros from both sides, now that we’ve long forgotten what the fight was over. I want to be buried next to the place we once sang Easter hymns as a family while having absolutely nothing to put in the offering plate during the offertory. I want to be buried where my daughter once peddled her tricycle because she will come again if she knows where to find me.

But that’s the easy answer. Because as a planner, that it is what I want. Today’s lesson is on the Kingdom of God and what it is our Lord and Savior wants. He wants me to be buried here, today, where the budgets are short and the needs are long; where the summer sun bakes our buildings and the snow mixed with ice melt will rot the threshold of our beautiful oak doors if we do not remain vigilant. Where relationships must matter; and yet, they are the first thing we reject and walk away from. He wants me buried here; where it is children sing out and adults with every imaginable privilege must criticize; and where the very blood of Christ pours down from this altar into our consecrated lives so that we may be washed over and over and over again under His priority of our being made new in Him.

The kingdom comes not because we planned it or even that we reached toward it or that we earned it with our most righteous efforts. We have it under pretty good authority that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The kingdom comes because seed and soil have met each other. It comes because we are buried in Christ. And because we are, it is the God in Christ through the abiding of His Holy Spirit that calls forth the intended growth. We don’t usher in the kingdom of God. It comes pouring in all around us in all times and in all places.

I have a priest friend that reminds me over and over again how it is that God will weed his Church, and God will grow his Church, and God will protect his Church, and God will assign the Church her mission. If any of us are overly burdened with those concerns, we can let them go. We can let them go into the hands of the one who plants, and the one who cares for, and the one that assigns us our duties in due season. My friend’s point being, our best laid plans are no match for God’s plan of salvation that is here right now; right before our eyes and ears and our taste and our touch and our vision. The secret to all this is that there is no secret. There is nothing else to plan or place into operation. This Holy Eucharist is the operation of God. This Holy Eucharist communicates to us the full sovereignty of God.

Well known author and preacher, Barbara Brown Taylor, commented on this season in which we find ourselves, one in which we walk the landscape looking toward the skies for promised rain. She observes how “when I visit embattled churches, I feel almost like I’m working for Hospice, visiting churches that are just scared to death they’re dying. You can almost smell the sweat in the room as they fret about what in the world they’re going to do.”

So, when you push away from this altar today, Go in peace . . .Go in peace. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord (BCP pg. 340). But do so with the sweet taste of Holy Communion upon your lips and the sound of Jesus’s parable in your ear. As you do, consider in your heart where it is you want to be buried; today, tomorrow, and when the fever of life is over, and our work is done, and we seek safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last (BCP 833). Where will that be?

Beloved of Christ, this is how we cooperate with God who plants, who weeds, and who grows His Church. This is “With what can we compare the kingdom of God?” (Mark 4:30). Which is why we present ourselves and our families before this altar. Because privately, to his disciples, Jesus the Christ explains everything.

There is a now and there is a then and both moments have as their greatest priority . . . the Kingdom of God.


Curriculum Vitae


  • Born – November 6, 1960, in Tampa, Florida
  • Parents – Willard F. and Marian D. (dec.) Burgess, Jr .
  • Sacrament of Holy Matrimony -April 9, 1985, Denise L. (Swing) Burgess
  • Children – Robert K. Burgess; Catherine M. Burgess



  • The University of the South, School of Theology, Sewanee, Tennessee               1996-1999
  • The Federal Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, Maryland           1992-1996
  • Southwest Florida Criminal Justice Academy, Fort Myers, Florida                     1990
  • Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana                                                               1980-1983
  • Edison Community College, Fort Myers, Florida                                              1977-1980
  • Fort Myers High School, Fort Myers, Florida                                                    1974-1978


Degrees & Honors

  • M. Div. cum laude, The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee           1999
  • Basic Recruit Certificate of Compliance-Law Enforcement Officers,
    Southwest Florida Criminal Justice Academy, Fort Myers, Florida                1990
  • B.S. in Music Education, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana                  1983
  • A.A., Edison Community College, Fort Myers, Florida                                1980

Ordained Ministry

  • Ordained, Sacred Order of Priests by The Rt. Rev. John Bailey Lipscomb
    The Diocese of Southwest Florida                                                                          December 18, 1999
  • Ordained, The Sacred Order of Deacons, The Rt. Rev. John Bailey Lipscomb
    The Diocese of Southwest Florida                                                                          June 12, 1999

Pastoral and Sacramental Cures

  • Rector, Christ Church
    Woodbury, New Jersey, The Diocese of New Jersey                                          2005-present
  • Associate Priest, Saint Luke’s Church & Parish Day School
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Diocese of Louisiana                                          2001-2005
  • Chaplain, Saint Luke’s Church Parish Day School
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Diocese of Louisiana                                          2001-2005
  • Rector, Deacon-in-Charge, Saint John’s Episcopal Church
    Brooksville, Florida, The Diocese of Southwest Florida                                    1999-2001

Professional History

  • Lee County Division of Public Safety, Fort Myers, Florida
    Emergency Management Operations Coordinator and Training Coordinator            1991-1996
  • Lee County Board of Commissioners Port Authority Police Officer                           1990-1991
  • Lee County Schools, Fort Myers, Florida
    Director of Bands, North Fort Myers High School                                                     1984-1989
  • Rockville Community School Corporation, Rockville, Indiana
  • Director of Instrumental & Choral Music, Rockville Junior-Senior H.S.                   1983-1984

Diocesan, Church & Community Leadership Contributions
The Diocese of New Jersey, 2005 – present

  • Dean, The Woodbury Convocation of parishes and missions, 14 non-consecutive years
    Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland Counties
  • Guest Chaplain, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington DC
  • Bioethics Committee, lnspira Medical Center, Mullica Hill
  • Member, The Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries Ministerium
  • Member, The Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce
  • Clerical Seat, Diocesan Council
  • Appointed, Standing Commission on Clerical Compensation
  • Appointed to fill three unexpired terms, Diocesan Standing Committee, 8 non-consecutive years
  • Associated Alumni Trustee, The University of the South Board of Trustees

Diocesan, Church & Community Leadership Contributions
The Diocese of Louisiana, 2001 – 2005

  • Appointed Vice President (Chair), member of the Episcopal Community Services Board
  • CREDO Conference 32, Camp Allen Episcopal Conference Center, Navasota, Texas
  • Community Coalition to Address Drug Abuse Prevention and Juvenile Justice Alternatives, Istrouma Area Council, Boy Scouts of America


Diocesan, Church & Community Leadership Contributions
The Diocese of Southwest Florida, 1999 – 2001

  • Appointed Member, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee
  • Invited Participant, New Small Church Leadership Conference, Office of Rural and Small Communities
    Kansas City, Missouri


Certifications, Licenses, and Honors

  • Graduate, Clergy Leadership Project, Trinity Church Wall Street
  • George T. Shettle Prize for Excellence in Liturgical Reading, The University of the South, School of Theology
  • William A. Griffin Fellow, study in the Holy Land, The University of the South, School of Theology
  • Seminary Representative to The Order of Gownsmen (academic honor society), The University of the South
  • Certified Emergency Manager, National Coordinating Council on Emergency Management, now the International Association of Emergency Managers, lapsed
  • NACo Achievement Award ’96, distinguished and innovative contribution to improving and promoting county government in the United States, TTY Alert, National Association of Counties
  • Emergency Management Award, 1995 Governor’s Hurricane Conference, for outstanding progress and accomplishment in the field of hurricane preparedness, planning, and research
  • Board of Directors, Deaf Service Center of Southwest Florida
  • Exceptional Duty Award, Reserve Officer, Lee County Port Authority Police Department
  • General Class Amateur Radio License (KD4UTL), The Federal Communications Commission, current
  • Superior Rated Bands, Symphonic, Concert, and Marching, North Fort Myers High School
  • Richard L. Dunham Leadership Award, The School of Music, Ball State University
  • Drum Major, The Pride of Mid-America Marching Band, Ball State University
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Delta Lambda Chapter, Chaplain, Ball State University

Conference Invitations

  • Session Speaker, 1996 National Hurricane Conference, Health Care and Special Needs, Orlando, Florida
  • International Video Conference Panelist, 1995 EENET, Disabilities and Disaster: Five Years of ADA Implementation, Washington D.C.
  • Workshop Session Coordinator, 1995 State of Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference, TTY Alert for the Hearing Impaired: Bridging the Gap in Warning and Notifications, Tampa, Florida Recognition, 1994 National Institute on Disabilities Project Directors, 1994
  • Plenary Discussion Panelist, 1993 Natural Hazards Research and Applications Center’s 18th Annual Hazards and Applications Workshop, Moving Forward From Andrew, Boulder, Colorado


Video Submission for question:

After reviewing and reflecting on the information provided, why do you feel called to be a nominee for the 12th Bishop of Springfield?