4 candidates named for Episcopal diocese

The Baltimore Sun

Four candidates from across the country have been chosen by a search committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland to replace retired Bishop Robert W. Ihloff.

Among them is the Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, who was runner-up in an election last year as bishop of the church's California diocese.

Sutton, 54, is the canon pastor of Washington's National Cathedral and director of the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage there.

Other nominees are:

The Rev. Jane Soyster Gould, 51, rector of St. Stephen's Memorial Church in Lynn, Mass., where she leads services in English and Swahili.

The Rev. Peter D. Eaton, 49, a native of Washington who is dean of St. John's Cathedral in Denver.

The Rev. Dr. John C. N. Hall, 49, rector of St. Matthew's Church in Chandler, Ariz., near Phoenix.

"Eleven months ago, the Standing Committee charged the Search Committee with presenting to the Diocese of Maryland a diverse slate of not less than four nominees for bishop," the Rev. Scott P. Bellows, Standing Committee president, said in a statement.

"They have worked tirelessly, done an outstanding job and we have unanimously accepted their slate of nominees ... four exceptionally qualified individuals," Bellows said.

The 19-member search committee went to work in February when Ihloff announced his plan to retire at age 65 after 12 years in the post. Ihloff stepped down in April, and Bishop Suffragen John L. Rabb has been interim bishop since then. He plans to return to the suffragen position - the equivalent of vice bishop - when Ihloff's successor takes office in May.

According to church procedures, others in the diocese may now nominate candidates for the bishop's post until the end of this month. These nominees, who each require 20 petition signatures, will be vetted by the Standing Committee, akin to the church's board of directors.

In early March, all of the candidates are expected to come to Maryland for a series of meetings with church members.

The 14th bishop of Maryland's Episcopal Diocese will be elected March 29 by delegates that include Episcopal clergy and lay representatives from all of the diocese's 117 Episcopal churches, their numbers proportional to the size of their congregation. About 48,000 of the nation's 3 million Episcopalians are in the Maryland diocese.

The state's first Episcopal bishop - before the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church was part of the English Anglican Church - was elected in 1792 in Chestertown. Since then, the Eastern Shore and Washington and its suburbs have become separate dioceses.


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