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Presiding bishop candidates

Three men, one woman to be considered in General Convention election

Four nominees for presiding bishop were announced on Jan. 25 by a committee of bishops, clergy and lay people established by the last General Convention.

They are J. Neil Alexander, bishop of Atlanta; Edwin F. Gulick Jr., bishop of Kentucky; Katherine Jefferts Schori, bishop of Nevada; and Henry R. Parsley Jr., bishop of Alabama.

The nominees’ names will be submitted to a joint session at General Convention in Columbus on June 18. The next day, the House of Bishops will elect the 26th presiding bishop, and the House of Deputies will be asked to ratify that action. The next presiding bishop will succeed Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, whose nine-year term will conclude with the installation of his successor on Nov. 4 at Washington National Cathedral.

The 29-member committee, which included two youth, examined the credentials of all candidates and arranged for background, medical and psychological examinations. If anyone else is nominated by bishops or General Convention deputies to the chair of the nominating committee, Bishop Peter James Lee of the Diocese of Virginia, he or she must undergo the same examinations.

J. Neil Alexander

J. Neil Alexander  

John Neil Alexander, 52, bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta since March 31, 2001, serves a diocese of some 55,000 members in 93 congregations.

He is chair of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, a regent of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and a member of the Archives Board. He also has served on the board of the General Theological Seminary in New York. He is author of  This Far by Grace, A Bishop’s Journey Through Questions About Homosexuality, as well as publications in liturgics, homiletics, sacramental theology and pastoral practice.

At the time of his election as bishop, Alexander was the Norma and Olin Mills professor of divinity at the University of the South and was priest-in-charge of St. Agnes’ Church in Cowan, Tenn. Previously, he served as the Trinity Church professor of liturgics and preaching at General Theological Seminary, during which time he also served in various parish settings.

He received a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He and his wife, Lynn Tesh Alexander, have three children.

Edwin F. Gulick Jr.

Edwin F. Gulick Jr.  

Edwin Funsten “Ted” Gulick Jr., 57, bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky since 1994, leads a diocese of 10,600 members in 36 congregations.

He has served two terms on the Standing Committee on Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, co-chaired the Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue from 1997 to the present and served as one of the church’s representatives on the Consultation on Church Union (1995-2000). In 2001, Archbishop George Carey appointed him to the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission, an ongoing commitment.

Gulick was one of three bishops appointed by former Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning to investigate issues of alleged misconduct involving bishops. At General Convention 2000, he served a committee that dealt with all questions related to human sexuality. He co-chaired the General Convention cognate committee on Ecumenical Concerns and served on the advisory committee for the College of Bishops.

He received a master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary and  onorary degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary and the University of the South.

He and his wife, Barbara, have three children.

Katharine Schori

Katharine Jefferts Schori  

Katharine Jefferts Schori, 51, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada since 2001, serves a diocese of some 6,000 members in 35 congregations.

She is the first female nominee for presiding bishop. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Church Divinity School of the Pacific; the CREDO advisory board; the House of Bishops peer coaching program; the General Board of Examining Chaplains; the Board for Church Deployment; the House of Bishops’ pastoral development, racism and planning committees; and the Court for Review of a Trial of a Bishop.

Schori has written for Vestry Papers (March-April 2005); Preaching Through Holy Days and Holidays: Sermons that Work XI; and articles on preaching. She has logged more than 500 hours as an active, instrument-rated pilot. Before becoming a bishop, she was assistant rector at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Ore., a visiting scientist at Oregon State University’s Department of Oceanography and an oceanographer with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle.

She received a master of divinity degree from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a doctorate from the seminary in 2001.

She and her husband, Richard, have one child.

Henry Parsley Jr.

Henry N. Parsley, Jr.  

Henry Nutt Parsley Jr., 57, has been bishop of the Diocese of Alabama since 1996, leading a diocese with 35,000 members in 92 congregations.

Parsley is the chair of the theology committee and a member of the planning committee of the House of Bishops. He has chaired the Standing Commission on Stewardship and Development and the Church Pension Fund’s Committee on Abundance. He is chancellor of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., and a member of its Board of Regents. He has been a preacher on the Protestant Hour.

He was rector of Christ Church, Charlotte, N.C., for 10 years before his election as bishop. He served on the Diocesan Council, was on the Alumni Council of the University of the South. In the Diocese of South Carolina, he was president of the Standing Committee, served as a Cursillo spiritual director and was an Education for Ministry mentor.

He graduated with a master of divinity from General Theological Seminary, studied at Oxford University and received an honorary doctorate of divinity from the University of the South.

He and his wife, Rebecca, have one child.

Expanded profiles of each nominee will appear in the May issue of Episcopal Life.

Biographical information about these candidates is available in Spanish at