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California diocese elects Marc Andrus as bishop

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

The Rt. Rev. Mark Handley Andrus, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Alabama, was elected  the eighth bishop of the Diocese of California.  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Alabama, was elected May 6 to be the eighth bishop of the Diocese of California.

Andrus was elected on the third ballot to replace the Rt. Rev. William Swing, who will retire this year.

To be elected on the third ballot, based on the number of votes cast, a nominee needed 131 votes in the clergy order and 148 in the lay order. Andrus received 188 clergy and 161 lay votes.

Andrus, 49, has been bishop suffragan in Alabama since 2001. He initiated the Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation and established the Jonathan Daniels and the Martyrs of Alabama Pilgrimage for Peace. Daniels was an Episcopal seminarian who was murdered in Haynesville, Alabama while a volunteer during the civil rights movement. The group also commemorates all those who died during that era.

In his episcopate, Andrus has been responsible for diocesan college chaplaincies and the diocese's camp and conference center, along with episcopal ministries.

He serves on national steering committees for Bishops Working for a Just Society, Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation, and the Executive Council Committee on the Status of Women. Bishops Working for a Just Society is a coalition of Episcopal bishops who work on behalf of public policies that benefit the nation's poor.

Andrus has a bachelor of science degree in plant and soil science from the University of Tennessee and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from VPI&SU (Virginia Tech). Prior to ordination, he worked as a regional planner on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Andrus received his master of divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 1, 1988. He was rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Middleburg, Virginia; chaplain and teacher at Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Virginia; and curate at the Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Andrus is married to Sheila, a researcher and educator. They are the parents of two daughters, Pilar and Chloe, who are both college students.
The Episcopal Church's General Convention will be asked to consent to Andrus' election because it occurred within 120 days of the convention, which runs from June 13-21 in Columbus, Ohio. Andrus is scheduled to be installed on July 22.

The other nominees were:

  • The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, 50, officer for congregational development, Diocese of California,
  • The Rev. Jane Gould, 49, rector, St. Stephen's Church, Lynn, Massachusetts;
  • The Rev. Bonnie Perry, 43, rector, All Saints' Church, Chicago, Illinois;
  • The Rev. Donald Schell, 58, rector, St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, San Francisco,
  • The Rev. Canon Eugene Taylor Sutton, 52, canon pastor of Washington National Cathedral; and
  • The Very Rev. Robert V. Taylor, 47, dean, St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle, Washington.

The election took place at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.