Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Nominees Announced

Apr 3, 2024 by

by Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism:

A slate of four nominees was announced this morning to stand for election as the next Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop, succeeding The Most Rev. Michael Curry, who completes his term in office later this year.

Nominees include The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Barker of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and its suburban counties), The Rt. Rev. Robert Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe who serves as diocesan bishop for the two neighboring Episcopal Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York.

The bishop chosen will lead the 1.5 million-member mainline Protestant denomination, which has struggled with uninterrupted decline in recent decades. The Episcopal Church has shed 23 percent of members in the past 10 years, a rate that is accelerating.

The names of both Rowe and Gutiérrez had been widely discussed as potential nominees prior to today’s announcement.

In order to be nominated for Presiding Bishop, a diocesan bishop must not yet have reached the mandatory retirement age of 72. Historically, nominees are young enough to serve the entirety of the nine-year term. For much of the Episcopal Church’s history, the Presiding Bishop was the most senior of serving diocesan bishops. The office became elective in 1926.

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