Saturday, January 05, 2013

Women in the Episcopate: The Current State of Affairs

The death of Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon prompted me to do some checking on the state of women in the Episcopate.  The news is mixed:

Some of the bishops who are women at the
Lambeth Conference 2008. Photo By Cynthia Black. I
believe left to right these are:  Nedi Rivera, Dena Harrison,
Geralyn  Wolf, Cate Waynick and Katharine Jefferts Schori.
In the Episcopal Church since 1988, 19 women have been elected and ordained bishops, eleven suffragan bishops and eight diocesan bishops.


  • Barbara Clementine Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts, 1988 (now retired)
  • Jane Holmes Dixon, Bishop Suffragan of Washington, 1992 (now deceased)
  • Mary Adelia McLeod, Bishop of Vermont, 1993 (now retired)
  • Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of New York, 1996 (now retired)
  • Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island, 1996 (now retired)
  • Carolyn Tanner Irish, Bishop of Utah, 1996 (now retired)
  • Catherine Waynick, Bishop of Indianapolis, 1997
  • Chilton Knudsen, Bishop of Maine, 1998 (now retired)
  • Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Nevada, 2001 (Now Presiding Bishop)
  • Carol Gallagher, Bishop Suffragan of Southern Virginia, 2002 (now serving in North Dakota)
  • Gayle Elizabeth Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts, 2003
  • Nedi Rivera, Bishop Suffragan of Olympia, 2005 (now serving the Diocese of Eastern Oregon)
  • Dena Harrison, Bishop Suffragan of Texas, 2005
  • Laura Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan of Connecticut, 2007
  • Mary Grey Reeves, Bishop of El Camino Real, 2007
  • Diane Bruce, Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles, 2010
  • Mary Glaspool, Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles, 2010
  • Mariann Budde, Bishop of Washington, 2011
  • Susan Goff, Bishop Suffragan of Virginia, 2012
Since the election of Bishop Barbara Harris, these represent 8% of the episcopal elections.  That is well below the percentage of priests who are women.  I thought the percentage might be better since 2000, but in fact it raises only to 9%.  We've come a long way and we have a long way to go.

In the remainder of the Anglican Communion, there are the following numbers:

Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia: 1*
Anglican Church of Canada:  7
Anglican Church of Australia:  3
The Episcopal Church of Cuba:  2
The Church of the Province of Southern Africa:  1
*There have been two bishops in New Zealand who were women, but one of them had been elected and first served in Canada.

That makes 33 all told.in 5 out of the 38 provinces (Cuba is an extra-provincial diocese).  In 12 other Provinces women are able to be ordained bishops. The Church of England, sadly is not one of them.

I am happy to be corrected on this information!


1 comment:

Julian Thomas said...

5 bishops, but only 4 names....

????