Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

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Diocese of San Diego
Ecclesiastical province Province VIII
Congregations 46 (2014)
Members 14,622 (2014)
Rite Episcopal
Cathedral St. Paul's Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop James R. Mathes
Location of the Diocese of San Diego
Location of the Diocese of San Diego
edsd.org Diocese website

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is the diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America with jurisdiction over San Diego County, Imperial County and part of Riverside County in California plus all of Yuma County in Arizona. It is in Province 8 and encompasses some 50 congregations.[1] It was created in 1973 by splitting off from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.[2] Its cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral, is in San Diego. [3] The diocesan offices are located in Ocean Beach at 2083 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego, CA 92107.

List of bishops[edit]

The bishops of San Diego have been:[4]

  1. Robert M. Wolterstorff, (elected December 7, 1973, consecrated March 30, 1974, retired 1982)[5]
  2. C. Brinkley Morton, (1982–1992)
  3. Gethin Benwil Hughes, (1992–2005)
  4. James Robert Mathes, (2005–2017)


The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego was founded in 1974, over 100 years after the first Episcopal service took place in this region. The area which currently makes up the Diocese of San Diego stretches from Sun City to the Mexican border, from the Pacific Ocean to Yuma, Arizona. Until 1975, this was part of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Shipwrecked off the coast of Point Loma, Episcopal bishop William Ingraham Kip, a patrician New Englander, and his wife were graciously entertained by the Bandini family, whose house still stands in Old Town San Diego. On Sunday, January 22, 1854, the bishop celebrated his first Eucharist in California at the courthouse in Old Town. The area developed and Episcopal churches grew up out of new communities until a separate diocese was formed from the Diocese of Los Angeles. Robert Wolterstorff was consecrated as the first bishop of the Diocese of San Diego in 1974. Wolterstorff served as rector of St. James by-the-Sea in La Jolla before becoming bishop. The newly formed diocese then had 37 congregations and nearly 20,000 members.

Brinkley Morton from Alabama was elected and consecrated second bishop of San Diego in 1982. He focused on developing seven new congregations and he helped to expand the services of already existing Episcopal Community Services.

Since its inception, St. Paul’s Cathedral has been a center of ministry, but it wasn’t until 1985 that it was named our cathedral. In 1983, Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited St. Paul’s.

Gethin Hughes was our third diocesan bishop; he was elected and consecrated in 1992. Hughes spent his episcopate increasing mission and ministry in this region. He also led a fundraising campaign for new church buildings. By 1999, the diocese had 52 congregations and 26,000 members.

James R. Mathes was ordained and consecrated as the fourth Bishop of San Diego in 2005. His ministry focused on developing vibrant congregations that are missional centers for the wider community, building up the care and service ministries of the diocese, and teaching the faith in congregations and beyond. Note: Bishop Mathes concluded his tenure as bishop on July 1, 2017 with a farewell Eucharist at Saint Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, San Diego, California. Former presiding bishop of the United States, Katharine Jefferts Schori, will act as assistant bishop during the period required to call a new bishop to the diocese.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego today consists of 46 churches and over 20,000 members across San Diego County, Imperial County, southern Riverside County and Yuma County, Arizona. The San Diego diocese is a part of the greater Episcopal Church which has 110 dioceses in 16 nations and is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Departures of Members[edit]

Since 2003 nine churches experienced the departure of large numbers of their congregation over growing discontent with the theological liberalism of the Episcopal Church. Women's ordination and the ordination of openly gay, partnered bishops have been the lightning rod issues that encouraged these members to leave.[6] Some dissident groups attempted to retain control of their church buildings and property,[1] but in 2008, the California Court of Appeal ruled for the Diocese and upheld the authority of Mathes to dismiss parish vestry members and clergy who sought to take a parish out of The Episcopal Church.[7]

Same-Sex Marriages[edit]

The Episcopal Church provides "wide pastoral latitude" to individual bishops on the subject of blessing same sex couples.[8] In 2010, Mathes approved a policy by which individual parishes could, after a self study period, choose to recognize LGBT couples in a blessing service.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Davies, Matthew (April 9, 2009). "Fallbrook congregation to return to church on Easter". Worldwide Faith News. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Horizons & Heritage: Marking New Milestones". Diocesan History Project. Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Episcopal Church Annual, 2006, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Morehouse Publishing, p. 342-343
  4. ^ Episcopal Church Annual, 2006, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Morehouse Publishing, p. 342
  5. ^ "Robert M. Wolterstorff, first bishop of San Diego, dies at 92". Episcopal News Service. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (December 28, 2010). "Church walks away from Episcopal Diocese of S.D." San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  7. ^ New v. Kroeger, Case no. D05112, http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/revpub/D051120.PDF
  8. ^ "Liturgies for Blessings". 76th General Convention. Episcopal Church. Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  9. ^ McCaughan, Pat (July 20, 2010). "San Diego: Bishop outlines process for same-gender blessings". Episcopal News Service. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  10. ^ http://www.edsd.org/for-congregations/sermons/same-sex-marriages/

External links[edit]