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Lexington cathedral dean elected bishop

The Rev. Morris K. Thompson Jr. of Lexington's Christ Church Cathedral was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Saturday.

Thompson is the dean and rector of the Lexington cathedral, where he has spent the last dozen years.

Thompson, a Mississippi native, said he came to Kentucky in 1980 to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He also spent five years at a church in Ashland.

"I have mixed emotions," he said. "We are excited about the new beginnings in Louisiana, but Christ Church has been a wonderful place. The cathedral has grown and progressed, and we will miss being here."

Lexington Bishop Stacy F. Sauls said Thompson has made many contributions during his time here.

"The cathedral has come miles under his leadership in several respects," Sauls said. "The cathedral is a much more joyous place. It's full of young families with children. There's a lot looser feel to it."

He also worked with outreach ministries, such as one that finds jobs for homeless people, Sauls said, and he has led Christ Church Cathedral to help smaller churches with fewer resources.

Thompson's election will have to be ratified by other bishops, a process that could take 120 days. Replacing him at Christ Church Cathedral could take 12 to 18 months, Sauls said.

Thompson, 54, is married and has two children. He will succeed Bishop Charles Jenkins, who is retiring.