NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA: Consecration of youngest bishop set for September 8

September 3, 2007

The Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania will ordain and consecrate its 8th bishop, the Rev. Sean W. Rowe, on September 8, at Harbison Chapel at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be the chief consecrator. Co-consecrators will include Rowe's predecessor Bishop Robert D. Rowley Jr.; retired Bishop J. Mark Dyer of the Diocese of Bethlehem; the Rev. Ralph E. Jones, bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Ohio Arthur Williams; and Delaware Bishop Wayne P. Wright.

Rowe, 32, was elected May 19 on the first ballot from a slate of four candidates. He was elected with 64 lay votes and 29 clergy votes. An election on that ballot required 51 votes of 101 cast in the lay order and 24 of 47 votes cast in the clergy order.

Rowe will be the youngest member of the House of Bishops.

Rowley ordained Rowe as a deacon and priest in 2000. That same year Rowe began serving St. John's Episcopal Church in Franklin, Pennsylvania, in the diocese he will soon lead. He was born in nearby Sharon.

More biographical information about Rowe is available here.

Rowley announced in July 2006 that he was taking a "terminal sabbatical leave." He said in a letter to the diocese that the Standing Committee proposed the idea of a terminal sabbatical because it was concerned that "if I continued to serve as Diocesan Bishop that my physical health would be impacted."

His leave was effective immediately and concluded August 31, a date Rowley had previously announced as his retirement date.

Rowley held his office until that date for pension considerations, but he asked the Standing Committee to assume ecclesiastical authority until a new bishop is elected and consecrated.

The diocese comprises about 4,800 Episcopalians worshipping in 36 congregations.