Sean W. Rowe

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The Right Reverend
Sean Walter Rowe
Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania
Church Episcopal Church of the United States
Diocese Northwestern Pennsylvania
Elected 19 May 2007
In office 2007 — present
Predecessor Robert D. Rowley, Jr.
Successor incumbent
Ordination 2 December 2000
Consecration 8 September 2007
by Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th Presiding Bishop
Personal details
Born (1975-02-16) February 16, 1975 (age 41)
Sharon, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Spouse Carly Rowe

Sean W. Rowe (born February 16, 1975[1]) is the eighth and current Episcopal Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.[2][3]

Education and early career[edit]

Rowe graduated from Grove City College and Virginia Theological Seminary.[3] He was, at age 24, the youngest Episcopal priest in the United States at the time of his ordination, in December 2000.[4] He was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, Pennsylvania, in the Diocese of Northwestern PA.[2]

Election and consecration[edit]

Location of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania

At the time of his election, Rowe was 32 years old, and would become the youngest member of the House of Bishops.[2][4][5][6] Rowe was elected on the first ballot from a slate of four candidates, with 64 lay votes and 29 clergy votes.[2] The election was at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Erie, Pennsylvania on May 19, 2007.[2] In October 2009, Bishop Rowe was granted an honorary doctorate in divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary. Bishop Rowe received an appointment to the Theology faculty at Gannon University, PA, in 2008.

Rowe was consecrated on September 8, 2007.[7][8] The consecrators included Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Rowe's predecessor Bishop Robert D. Rowley, Jr., retired Bishop J. Mark Dyer of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Ralph E. Jones, bishop of the Northwestern PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Arthur Williams, retired Bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Ohio, and Wayne P. Wright, bishop of Delaware.[7][8]

Rowe is still the youngest bishop in that branch of the church at the age of 34.[9][10]

In October 2009, Bishop Rowe was given a commission as a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky after being nominated by several clergy of his diocese. The mission of the Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonels is "irrevocably dedicated to and is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes."[11] [1] Funds from the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels have been utilized for the purchase of wheelchairs for muscular dystrophy victims, for the distribution of books to school children.

In March, 2014, Bishop Rowe was elected as the Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem in the eastern part of the state.[12] An election for Bishop requires a 2/3 majority: Rowe earned 64 of 64 clergy votes and 99 of 100 layperson votes.[12] Upon his election, the Rt. Rev. Rowe spoke briefly to the clergy and laypersons who were present and said, "Today you did not elect the smartest or the most spiritual bishop ever. The fact is, there are people here who have been praying twice as long as I’ve been alive. What you’ll get is one who is faithful to God, at least most of the time, and one who stands firmly on the promises of Jesus Christ." He finished by adding, "I am your servant."

Bishop Rowe remains the bishop of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania after receiving permission from church officials to serve the needs of both dioceses; as provisional bishop, Rowe will serve the congregants of the Diocese of Bethlehem for three years. The Diocese of Bethlehem is decidedly larger than that of Erie, with 63 congregations, 15,000 congregants, and covering 14 counties.[13] The Diocese of Erie reports having 33 congregations, 5,000 congregants, and serves 13 counties.[14] In addition to becoming the Provisional Bishop of Bethlehem, he also completed his Ph.D. at Gannon University in Organizational Leadership.

Bishop Rowe attended the annual House of Bishops meeting, which was held in Taipei, Taiwan in September 2014. According to the Episcopal News Service (ENS), the theme of this year's meeting was "Expanding Apostolic Imagination." Along with representatives from the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Korea, Bishop Rowe considered the theological context and mission challenges their provinces face.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Episcopal Clerical Directory 2013 (2013). New York: Church Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-89869-888-6, p. 829.
  2. ^ a b c d e Episcopal News Service ENS web site 1st PR. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania official web site staff page. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Kendall Harmon at TitusOneNine. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  5. ^ Living Church News about Rowe May 19, 2007. Living Church News about election May 19, 2007. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  6. ^ J. B. Chilton, Essay, "He'll be the Youngest Bishop by far," found at Episcopal Café web site. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Episcopal News Service ENS web site 2nd PR. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Bishop consecration Saturday," Sharon Herald, September 6, 2007, found at Sharon Herald story. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  9. ^ Mary Frances Schjonberg, "Texas elects C. Andrew Doyle bishop coadjutor," May 24, 2008, Episcopal Life, found at Episcopal Life web site. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  10. ^ Tomie Lunsford, "Doyle elected bishop of Texas," Temple Telegram, May 31, 2008, found at Temple Telegram web site. Accessed June 26, 2008.
  11. ^ Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Robert D. Rowley, Jr.
8th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania
2007 to present
Succeeded by