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Candidates for next Presiding Bishop of US Episcopal Church named

03 April 2024

Episcopal News Service

From left: Bishops Barker, Gutiérrez, Rowe, and Wright

From left: Bishops Barker, Gutiérrez, Rowe, and Wright

THE next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States is to be selected in June. An initial slate of four was announced on Tuesday.

From 3 to 15 April, however, any bishop or deputy to the forthcoming General Convention may also nominate a bishop not on the slate.

The four named so far are all men: the Bishops of Nebraska, the Rt Revd J. Scott Barker; Pennsylvania, the Rt Revd Daniel G.P. Gutiérrez; Northwestern Pennsylvania, the Rt Revd Sean Rowe; and Atlanta, the Rt Revd Robert Wright.

The names, announced by the Church’s Joint Nominating Committee, will be formally submitted to the 81st General Convention, in Louisville, Kentucky, on 25 June — the day before the House of Bishops is scheduled to elect the 28th Presiding Bishop. The House of Deputies will then be asked to confirm the election.

Whoever is elected will succeed the Most Revd Michael Curry, whose nine-year term ends on 31 October (News, 6 November 2015). He has recently undergone brain surgery, after a run of ill-health (News, 12 January; 2 June 2023).

The selection process began in September, when the names of possible candidates were submitted by 111 Episcopalians (News, 22 September 2023). Named bishops were asked to enter the discernment process, if they were willing, and to submit applications. Bishops who agreed to be put forward had to provide video responses to set questions.

The video responses of the four nominees were published by the Presiding Bishop’s office of public affairs on Tuesday.

Bishop Rowe, who is 49, the youngest nominee, has held office since 2007, and is also Bishop Provisional of Western New York during the diocese’s vacancy-in-see. He previously served as Bishop Provisional of Bethlehem (2014 to 2018). He was ordained in 2000 in Northwestern Pennsylvania, where he served until his election as bishop. He currently serves as Parliamentarian (adviser on constitutional matters) of the House of Bishops and Executive Council.

Bishop Gutiérrez, who is 59, has held his Pennsylvania see since 2016 — one of five dioceses in the state. A native of New Mexico, he holds a master’s degree in theological studies from St Norbert College. He was ordained in 2008 in the diocese of the Rio Grande, where he served as canon to the ordinary, chief operating officer, and chief of staff before he was elected bishop.

Bishop Barker, who is 60, has been the Bishop of Nebraska, where he was born and raised, since 2011. He was ordained in 1992, served for ten years in Omaha, and ten years in the diocese of New York, before his consecration.

Bishop Wright, who is also 60, is a Navy veteran, and was ordained in 1999 in the diocese of New York. Before becoming Bishop of Atlanta in 2012, he was Rector of St Paul’s Episcopal Church there.

Nominees, by custom, are not permitted to give media interviews. The Bishop of Alaska, the Rt Revd Mark Lattime, who co-chairs the Nominating Committee, said: “We appreciate the many Episcopalians who prayerfully set us on our way to discerning this slate of nominees.”

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