From Bishop Sean

June 26, 2024

Dear People of God in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York:

Earlier today, the House of Bishops elected me to be the 28th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and a few moments ago, the House of Deputies confirmed my election. I give thanks to God for the opportunity to serve the church in this role, and I am especially grateful to each of you who have supported and prayed for me during my discernment for this office. Our ministry together and your resilience and creativity in the face of change have prepared me for this new call, and I will always be thankful for your faithfulness and courage.

According to the provisions of Canon I.2.2, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will retire on October 31 and on November 1, I will become presiding bishop for a term of nine years. This generous transition period means that we will have several months to conclude our ministry together and say goodbye. I will plan to conclude my day-to-day work in the partnership by mid-September and will resign as bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and bishop provisional of Western New York on November 1 when I become presiding bishop. On that day, the Standing Committee of each diocese will become its ecclesiastical authority.

The Standing Committees, under the leadership of their presidents — the Rev. Stacey Fussell in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Saxon Deck in Western New York — began developing a draft plan for this transition shortly after I was named to the slate of nominees for presiding bishop and are prepared for the change ahead. Over the summer, I will continue to work with them, all the members of our leadership bodies, and the partnership staff to ensure that the governance and operation of both dioceses will continue without interruption when I leave in September. Please know that my departure will not change the timetable for the evaluation of the partnership or the vote about its future planned for the fall of 2025.

General Convention ends on Friday, and the deputies from our dioceses and I will return home from Louisville over the weekend. If you have immediate questions about the road ahead, please email them to, and we will do our best to provide the information you need while we conclude the business of convention. You can also watch upcoming issues of the diocesan newsletter for more information about the transition, including dates in September when we will hold events in each diocese to celebrate our ministry together.

In the meantime, I hope that you will pray for me and my family, for everyone in our diocesan partnership, for my fellow nominees for presiding bishop, and for Presiding Bishop Curry and his family. For each of us, today’s news ushers in a time of adjustment and uncertainty. I take heart, as I hope we all will, from the assurance that God is with us.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, 515)


The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe

Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York

Read this letter on the website.