J. Stuart Wetmore
|James Stuart Wetmore|
|Suffragan Bishop of New York|
|Predecessor||Charles F. Boynton|
|Successor||Paul Moore, Jr.|
October 22, 1915|
Hampton, New Brunswick
|Died||December 28, 1999
Poughkeepsie, New York
Wetmore was a direct descendant of the James Wetmore, who served as founder and rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Rye, New York 1723-1760.
His Canadian assignments included Field Secretary and General Secretary of the General Board of Religious Education. He traveled constantly through Eastern Canada and Newfoundland, building up local Christian formation programs and stimulating the creation of regional programs such as Camp Medley in Upper Gagetown, New Brunswick. He moved to the United States in 1953, serving as Director of Christian Education of the Diocese of New York until 1960.
He was named a Canon of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York in 1959 and was elected and ordained suffragan bishop in 1960. He is noted for serving longer than any other in that capacity, for twenty-seven years.
In 1963, Wetmore collapsed at a Christmas service at the Cathedral and was taken to the hospital. Although the immediate diagnosis was heat exhaustion, the medical examination revealed that he was suffering from cancer of the larynx. After surgery to remove the cancer, Wetmore had to cope for the rest of his ministry with a voice which was faint and hoarse. For several years he made use of his own portable sound system, as voice amplification was rare in smaller churches in the diocese at that time, to continue to be able to preach and lead worship.
Wetmore was also known for his interfaith work. He became the first non-Roman Catholic to preach from the pulpit of St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1968. Additionally, he chaired the diocesan Ecumenical Commission from 1969 to 1988, and was a founding director of the Council of Churches of the City of New York from 1960 to 1988. He also served as Director of the Council of Churches of New York State from 1965 to 1968.
Wetmore served as Chair of the committee that oversaw the construction and functioning of the Protestant and Orthodox Pavilion at the New York World's Fair of 1964-65. One of his key contributions was successfully lobbying for the showing of the controversial short film, "Parable" at the Pavilion, instead of the proposed dramatic readings from famous sermons.
Wetmore married Frances Howard Robinson in 1940. Together they had five children, and at the time of his death Wetmore had eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.