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The Right Reverend Sean Rowe

HEATHER PRATHER PHOTOGRAPHY

Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Bishop Provisional Nominee in the Diocese of Bethlehem

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe was ordained bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania, which comprises thirty-three congregations in thirteen counties, in 2007. He is known for developing transformational leadership and is a Ph. D. candidate in organizational learning and leadership at Gannon University. He is a 2000 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and a 1997 graduate of Grove City College, where he earned a bachelor of arts in history. Bishop Rowe serves as parliamentarian for the House of Bishops, chair of the Episcopal Church Building Fund, and member of the General Board of Examining Chaplains, the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church and the Council of Advice to the President of the House of Deputies. A native of Sharon, Pennsylvania, he is married to Carly Rowe, a Christian educator. They have a daughter, Lauren, who is one.


THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM 333 WYANDOTTE STREET, BETHLEHEM, PA

Letter to the Diocese of Bethlehem from the Standing Committee Announcing the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania, as Nominee for Bishop Provisional in the Diocese of Bethlehem Thursday, January 16, 2014 Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Diocese of Bethlehem: On January 1, 2014, we wrote to tell you of our decision that the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem would be best served by calling a provisional bishop to help lead us through an interim period of reflection and discernment. Today we are glad to tell you that our nominee for provisional bishop is the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania. We approached Bishop Sean about this call because of his stable, forward-thinking leadership in Northwestern Pennsylvania, where he was ordained bishop in 2007. He has a track record of building strong relationships with clergy and lay leaders and is skilled at resolving conflict directly and effectively. Based on the small-group conversations at our last diocesan convention and at a clergy day in November, we know that members of the diocese are looking for a provisional bishop with strong pastoral and leadership skills who can bring the diocese together and help us develop a sense of common call. We believe that Bishop Sean is the leader we need. Assuming his election by the special convention on March 1, Bishop Sean will both serve as our provisional bishop and continue as bishop of the Diocese of North-


western Pennsylvania. We are pleased to report that the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania supports this arrangement and the new opportunities for collaborative mission and ministry that it will provide. As bishop of two active dioceses, Bishop Sean’s schedule will be busy, but we are confident that his command of technology and the strong Standing Committee leadership in both dioceses will make the arrangement successful. Bishop Sean will spend a week each month in the Diocese of Bethlehem from March 1 until the middle of August, with some provision for a previously scheduled sabbatical. During this transition, the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania will add a long-planned staff position dedicated to administration and congregational growth. Beginning in the fall of 2014, Bishop Sean will spend half his time in each diocese. He and his wife, Carly, and their one-year-old daughter, Lauren, will have a place to live in both dioceses. Both dioceses will share responsibility for his compensation and benefits. Because the provisional bishop has all of the authority of a diocesan bishop during his term, we must elect a provisional bishop in the same way the convention would elect a diocesan bishop. To that end, we are calling for a special convention for the purpose of electing a Bishop Provisional to be held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem at 10 am on March 1, 2014. At that convention, we will vote on Bishop Sean’s nomination to be our provisional bishop. If at least two-thirds of all clergy entitled to vote and two-thirds of parishes entitled to vote are represented, we can elect our provisional bishop with a majority of votes in each order — clergy and laity. If fewer than two-thirds of clergy and laity eligible to vote are present, we must elect our provisional bishop by a vote of two-thirds. (Article XI of the Diocesan Constitution and Canons). It is vitally important that everyone who is entitled to vote attend the special convention at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem at 10 am on March 1. If you have questions about the election, Bishop Sean, or any other aspect of this transition in the Diocese of Bethlehem, please visit our website at www.diobeth.org. There you will find a biographical profile of Bishop Sean, answers to frequently asked questions, and a press release announcing our news to the church beyond our diocese and to media in our communities. If you have other questions, please be in touch with any of the members of the Standing Committee listed below.


Across the Episcopal Church, dioceses are seeking new models for 21st century mission and ministry. All of us — Bishop Sean and the Standing Committees in Bethlehem and Northwestern Pennsylvania — are pleased to have this opportunity to participate in the church’s transformation. We are looking forward to collaborating on new models for mission that will strengthen the witness of the Episcopal Church in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the work of God’s people in our communities. Faithfully yours, The Rev. Canon Andrew T. Gerns, President TRINITY, EASTON

Dr. Edwin Schatkowski, Secretary

CHURCH OF THE MEDIATOR, ALLENTOWN

The Rev. T. Scott Allen

ST. ANDREW’S, ALLENTOWN

Mr. Raymond Arcario

CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, BETHLEHEM

Ms. Connie Archer

ST. ANNE’S, TREXLERTOWN

Ms. Kate Fanning

CHRIST CHURCH, READING

Ms. Elizabeth House

CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, BETHLEHEM

The Rev. Canon Jane Teter RETIRED

The Rev. James Rinehart TRINITY, POTTSVILLE

The Rev. Earl Trygar ST. MARK’S, MOSCOW


THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM 333 WYANDOTTE STREET, BETHLEHEM, PA

PRESS RELEASE

Bishop Sean Rowe is Provisional Bishop Nominee in Diocese of Bethlehem Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania will also serve in northeastern part of state Thursday, January 16, 2014 BETHLEHEM, PA — The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, a group of elected clergy and lay leaders, announced today that the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, is the nominee for provisional bishop of Bethlehem. The convention at which the diocese’s clergy and lay representatives will vote on Bishop Rowe’s nomination is set for March 1. Rowe would continue as bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania under the proposed arrangement, which would continue for three years. “The Standing Committee chose Bishop Sean as our nominee for provisional bishop because of his stable, forward-thinking leadership in Northwestern Pennsylvania,” said the Rev. Canon Andrew T. Gerns, president of the Standing Committee in Bethlehem and rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton. “He has a strong track record of building relationships with clergy and lay leaders and proven skill at resolving conflict directly and effectively. We’re pleased that the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has so readily agreed to undertake this innovative arrangement with us.” “I am honored to be nominated as provisional bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem,” said Rowe. “Across the Episcopal Church, dioceses are seeking innovative ways to pursue 21st century mission and ministry. I am pleased to have this opportunity


to help transform the church by fostering collaboration and developing new models for mission that will strengthen the witness of the Episcopal Church in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the work of God’s people in our communities.” The Diocese of Bethlehem’s previous bishop, the Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, retired on December 31 after a terminal sabbatical. On January 1, the Standing Committee announced its plan to call a provisional bishop for a three-year term. “We believe that calling a provisional bishop is the best way for the Diocese of Bethlehem to undertake a healthy, productive period of reflection and discernment about the mission to which God is calling us,” said Gerns. “We’re delighted that Bishop Sean’s skills and proximity make this new arrangement possible.” If elected, Rowe will take up his new duties immediately and by August 2014 spend half of his time in each diocese. He, his wife, Carly, and their one-year-old daughter, Lauren, will have a home in both suburban Erie and in Bethlehem. Rowe was ordained bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania, which comprises thirty-three congregations in thirteen counties, in 2007. He is known for developing transformational leadership and is a Ph.D. candidate in organizational learning and leadership at Gannon University. He is a 2000 graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and a 1997 graduate of Grove City College. He serves as parliamentarian for the House of Bishops, chair of the Episcopal Church Building Fund, and member of the General Board of Examining Chaplains, the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church and the Council of Advice to the President of the House of Deputies. The March 1 electing convention will take place at 10 am at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, 321 Wyandotte Street in Bethlehem. Clergy of the diocese and lay leaders from each congregation will vote on the nomination of Rowe as provisional bishop. The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem comprises 63 congregations in the 14 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit www.diobeth.org. The Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania comprises 33 congregations in the 13 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit www.dionwpa.org.


THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF BETHLEHEM 333 WYANDOTTE STREET, BETHLEHEM, PA

Questions & Answers On Bishop Provisional Nominee and Election The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem has called a special convention for March 1, 2014 for the purpose of electing a provisional bishop to serve our diocese. The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania, is the nominee for provisional bishop.

What is a provisional bishop? In the Episcopal Church, a provisional bishop has all of the authority of a diocesan bishop but serves for a defined period of time. Bishop Rowe has been nominated to fill this role for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem for three years while continuing as bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Why is there only one nominee? The Canons of the Episcopal Church (III.13.1) provide that a diocese seeking a provisional bishop do so in consultation with the Presiding Bishop’s office, and her office requires that the diocese must use a confidential interview and selection process and present only one name to the electing convention. This is to enable bishops to consider provisional bishop positions without unduly complicating their current positions. The Canons of the Episcopal Church make it clear that a provisional bishop is expected to serve the diocese only for a limited time and can be removed at any time by act of diocesan convention.


How will the election work? If at least two-thirds of all clergy entitled to vote and two-thirds of parishes entitled to vote are represented, we can elect our provisional bishop with a majority of votes in each order — clergy and laity. If fewer than two-thirds of clergy and laity eligible to vote are present, we must elect our provisional bishop by a vote of two-thirds. (Article XI of the Diocesan Constitution and Canons). It is vitally important that everyone who is entitled to vote attend the special convention at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem at 10 am on March 1.

Why do we need an election if there’s only one nominee? Because the provisional bishop has all of the authority of a diocesan bishop during his term, the provisional bishop should be elected in the same way the convention would elect a diocesan bishop.

Why is the Diocese of Bethlehem electing a provisional bishop? Late last year, the Standing Committee in consultation with the Presiding Bishop and the Rt. Rev. Clay Matthews, the bishop for pastoral development in her office, decided that calling a provisional bishop for a term of three years would be the best way for the Diocese of Bethlehem to discern its vision for the future. Across the church, other dioceses in significant transition — most recently the Diocese of East Carolina — have successfully made use of a provisional bishop to lead a healthy, productive period of reflection and discernment.

How did the Standing Committee choose Bishop Rowe? At our last diocesan convention, we held small group discussions with laity and clergy and the Standing Committee received input from clergy at a meeting in November. These gatherings indicated to us that members of the diocese are looking for a provisional bishop with strong pastoral and leadership skills to bring together the diocese and help us develop a vision for mission and a sense of common call.


Based on this input, the Standing Committee chose Bishop Sean as our nominee because of his stable, forward-thinking leadership in Northwestern Pennsylvania, where he was ordained bishop in 2007, and because of his track record of building strong relationships with clergy and lay leaders and his skill at resolving conflict directly and effectively.

How will Bishop Rowe serve as bishop of two dioceses at the same time? As bishop of two actives dioceses, Bishop Sean’s schedule will be busy, but we are confident that his command of technology and strong Standing Committee leadership in both dioceses will make the arrangement successful. Bishop Sean will spend a week each month in the Diocese of Bethlehem from March 1 until the middle of August, with some provision for a previously scheduled sabbatical. Beginning in the fall of 2014, he will spend half his time in each diocese. He and his wife, Carly, and their one-year-old daughter, Lauren, will have a place to live in both dioceses.

How will things change in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania? Bishop Sean will continue to be the bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and maintain an active schedule of visitations, meetings and other pastoral responsibilities. He will be in the diocese about half the time beginning in August, but will continue to be available for diocesan business regardless of where he is working on any particular day. In addition, between now and this summer, the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania will add a long-planned staff position dedicated to administration and congregational growth.

Sean Rowe, Bishop Provisional Nominee  

Information packet on the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of NWPA, and Bishop Provisional Nominee in the Diocese of Bethlehem, including: a lette...