Monday, July 01, 2024

Presiding bishop-elect to forego installation at National Cathedral; scaled-back event to be held at church’s New York headquarters

Presiding Bishop-elect Sean Rowe and the installation planning and transition committees announced June 28 that Rowe’s installation service will take place Nov. 2 at The Episcopal Church’s headquarters in Manhattan, New York, instead of Washington National Cathedral, the seat of the presiding bishop, according to a press release by the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

Rowe will be installed during a service in The Episcopal Church Center’s Chapel of Christ the Lord. The service will be livestreamed with interpretation available in multiple languages.

“With gratitude to all involved, I have decided to begin this ministry in a new way,” Rowe said in the press release. “With a simple service at the church center that will include everyone via livestream, we can care for God’s creation by reducing our collective carbon footprint. I have great respect and admiration for the ministry of Washington National Cathedral. My seating will take place in the following months, and I am grateful to Dean [Randy] Hollerith and the cathedral staff as we plan for that event.”

The U.S. presidential election, scheduled for Nov. 5, was among many factors for the decision to change installation venues, according to the Office of Public Affairs.

The Most Rev. Henry St. George Tucker in 1938 was the first presiding bishop to be installed at Washington National Cathedral; all subsequent presiding bishops have been installed there. The cathedral officially became the seat of the presiding bishop in 1941 as a result of an action at the 1940 General Convention, held in Kansas City, Missouri, according to The Episcopal Church Archives.

The Diocese of Washington and the cathedral “wholeheartedly support” Rowe’s decision, Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said in the press release. 

“We look forward to the day of his seating at the cathedral, and we will celebrate that occasion with great joy,” she said.

Rowe now serves as bishop of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and provisional bishop of the Diocese of Western New York. The House Bishops elected Rowe on June 26 on the first ballot to serve the church as its 28th presiding bishop, succeeding the Most Rev. Michael Curry.

Curry’s term ends on Oct. 31 and Rowe’s begins on Nov. 1. 

“God is calling The Episcopal Church into a new future, and this service will mark the beginning of that journey,” Rowe said in the press release.

Further details on the installation will be provided as they become available.