The Right Reverend Samuel Johnson Howard, a native of North Carolina, was elected bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida on May 16, 2003 and was consecrated at St. John's Cathedral, Jacksonville, on November 1, 2003. He was instituted as bishop of the diocese on January 29, 2004.
From 1997 through 2003, Bishop Howard served as vicar of Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York. Active in New York church and community activities, Bishop Howard served as president of John Heuss House, a homeless drop-in shelter in downtown Manhattan, and as a board member of St. Margaret's House, which furnishes housing for elderly and mobility-impaired in New York. He also served on the board of the Downtown Alliance, a local community advisory and development board in lower Manhattan.
Bishop Howard was one of the leaders of the congregation and staff of Trinity Church, Wall Street and Saint Paul's Chapel in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001. He assumed a leadership role in the city, speaking on a variety of issues regarding redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, transportation, and public services.
Prior to moving to New York, Bishop Howard was rector of St. James' Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and before that he was assistant to the rector of Holy Comforter Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bishop Howard graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1989. He practiced law in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1976 through 1986, serving as an Assistant United States Attorney and Lead Attorney of the Federal Drug Enforcement Task Force for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In 1985 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals appointed him Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In that role, he established and directed the first Federal Public Defender office in that state. He also served as an attorney on the staff of the United States Senate Commerce Committee.
In addition to being an alumnus of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, he is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and of the Law School of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Bishop Howard currently also serves as Chancellor of the University of the South through 2018 in addition to his responsibilities to the Diocese of Florida.
A number of initiatives have been taken since becoming Bishop of Florida in 2004 - Bishop Howard began the Bishops Institute for Ministry and Leadership; he implemented college Chaplains programs; he began the Initiative for Evangelism and Growth; and he has supported important, innovative outreach programs within the Diocese.
Bishop Howard and his wife Marie have two sons: Augustus is a graduate of Duke University Law School and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge, while Charles is a doctoral student at the New York Institute of Fine Arts.