Bishop Lindsey Davis is continuing a Kentucky Conference tradition.
In 1996, shortly after the Kentucky native was elected to the episcopacy from this conference, Davis received an invitation to the home of fellow Kentuckian, retired Bishop Edward Tullis.
There, Tullis surprised Davis by presenting him with a collection of extremely rare books that had been passed down among bishops from the Kentucky Conference. Tullis explained he had received the collection from the late Bishop Roy Short, and Tullis instructed Davis upon his retirement to pass the books to a bishop elected from the Kentucky Conference.
The books are the three-volume History of Methodism in Kentucky by A.H. Redford, and Redford’s biography of Bishop H.H. Kavanaugh, the Life and Times of H.H. Kavanaugh.
Davis calls the tradition “delightful.”
After 20 years as an active bishop, Davis is retiring. But like his Kentucky predecessors, he is not just passing the torch to the next generation — he is the passing the tomes.
On Tuesday, July 12, after the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops meeting, Davis held a ceremonial passing of the books. The recipient this time was Bishop Debbie Wallace-Padgett, elected from Kentucky in 2012.
Davis said it is “with great respect and love” that he carried on the tradition and that he hopes that Wallace-Padgett will keep the tradition going.