Rt. Reverend Dr. Bertram Nelson HERLONG

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HERLONG, The Rt. Reverend Dr. Bertram Nelson 10th Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee, passed away surrounded by the love of family and friends on Friday, October 21st, 2011. Bishop Herlong was born in Lake City, FL on October 16, 1934 to Ava and Benjamin Herlong. He graduated from Lake City High School in 1952 and received a B.A. in Literature and English in 1956 from the University of Florida. Upon the loss of his only brother, George William Herlong, a hurricane hunter, with the US Navy, he experienced a call to the ministry instead of entering the US Army at the end of his ROTC service. He attended the University of the South and earned a Bachelors of Divinity from the School of Theology. Bishop Herlong began his ministry in the Diocese of Florida as founding vicar of St. Jude's Church, Valparaiso, and Church of the Epiphany, Crestview. He later served as Canon Pastor of St. John's Cathedral, Jacksonville, and as founding Chaplain and Assistant Headmaster of Jacksonville Episcopal High School, which is now the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. During his service to the Diocese of Florida he continued his education over seven summers to earn his Masters of Sacred Theology in 1970 from St. Luke's Seminary, University of the South. Bishop Herlong served Trinity Parish, New York City, as associate rector and vicar of Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel from 1972-1979. He served as a founding member of a hospice at the Beekman Downtown Hospital in Manhattan and founded St. Margaret's Housing Center for senior citizens. He further served as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Board of Trade. Continuing his education he was awarded the Doctorate of Ministry degree from New York Theological Seminary in 1980. In 1979, he became eighth Dean and fifteenth Rector of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit, Michigan. He successfully galvanized the community to revitalize downtown Detroit. Among his many efforts, he founded the Cathedral School, which provided early childhood through 8th grade education and established two senior citizen housing communities. He served as President of the Crossroads Board of Directors, a community service social welfare agency, as well as President of Community Case Management Services, Inc., a placement agency for released patients from Northville Hospital. He also served on the Advisory Committee of the Family Assistance Service Trust, the Orchestra Place Development Corporation Board of Directors, the University Cultural Center Association Board of Directors, and as a member of the Planning Committee of the Detroit Festival of the Arts. He received the Michigan Religious Leader Award from the Religious Heritage of America Foundation. He is the recipient of the Booker T. Washington Brotherhood Award, the Horace L. Sheffield Award for Community Service, the Spirit of the City of Detroit Award, and a Resolution of Gratitude from Wayne County and the Legislature of Michigan for outstanding service. He was also honored when the Board of Directors for the Cathedral School renamed it the Herlong Cathedral School. On January 10, 1993 he was elected tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Tennessee and was ordained and consecrated on June 26, 1993, in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. Upon being called to Tennessee, Bishop Herlong recognized the Diocese had no new churches in thirteen years. Bishop Herlong instituted a plan of starting new congregations and supporting them through a generous group of Episcopalians called the "Bishop's Volunteers." As a result of his leadership, grounded in the historic faith and practice of the church, Tennessee became the fastest growing Diocese in the Episcopal Church. He named Christ Church in downtown Nashville as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese, providing the Diocese a home and boosting the Episcopal presence in the community. Continuing his focus on community service and outreach, he established a relationship with the Diocese of Ecuador enabling frequent medical and dental missions. He served on the Board of the Living Church and of St. Luke's Community House. He was also active in Leadership Nashville and the Nashville Rotary Club, among many other religious and community organizations. He was honored with Doctor of Divinity degrees from Nashota House Seminary and the University of the South. In all of his endeavors, he was recognized as a good steward, enabling and guiding others to successfully use their gifts in ministry to the community. Bishop Herlong was married for 54 years to the former Barbara Ann Vickers. He is entrusted to God's loving care by her, his two daughters, Angela and Michele; his six grandchildren Adam, Joshua, Rachael, Gray, Parker, and Hunter, and his four great grandchildren Cindel, Monet, Benjamin, and Shikamaru. Funeral Services will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at St. George's Episcopal Church. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until to service time. Burial will be at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at St. John's Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, TN. Memorials may be made to St. Luke's Community House, St. George's Episcopal Church or .
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Published in The Tennessean on Oct. 24, 2011
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