Christianity Knowledge Base

The Presiding Bishop is an ecclesiastical position in some denominations of Christianity.


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America[]

The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the chief ecumenical officer of the church, and the leader and caretaker for the bishops of the synods. The presiding bishop chairs the biennial Churchwide Assembly and provides for the preparation of agendas for the assembly, the Church Council and its executive committee, the Conference of Bishops, and the Cabinet of Executives. The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA is elected to a maximum of two six year terms and is charged with initiating policy, developing strategy and overseeing administration of the entire church. The presiding bishop also serves as a figurehead and speaks on behalf of the entire church.

Currently, Mark S. Hanson serves in the position, having been elected in June 2001. He was installed as Presiding Bishop in a service at the Rockefeller Chapel in Chicago on October 6, 2001 in front of 1,600 persons.

Other Lutheran Churches[]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), a mainline Lutheran body similar to the ELCA, uses the term "national bishop" for a similar position. Most other Lutheran churches in North America, especially the Confessional Lutheran bodies use a congregationalist structure and call their national leaders "president."


Anglican Church of New Zealand[]

For a short period the style Presiding Bishop was used by the Anglican Church in New Zealand.

The Episcopal Church[]

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is the presiding authority in the church. Elected to serve a single nine-year term at the church's General Convention, he or she acts as primate of the national Church and its nine ecclesiastical provinces, and as president of the House of Bishops. The Presiding Bishop is charged with responsibility for leadership in initiating, developing, and articulating policy and strategy, overseeing the administration of the national church staff, and speaking for the Church on issues of concern and interest.

In other churches in the Anglican Communion, an Archbishop or Primus fills a similar role. Unlike an Archbishop, the Presiding Bishop does not have responsibility for a diocese or province. However, before a 1925 change in canon law, the Presiding Bishop was simply the senior diocesan bishop. In modern times, an elected Presiding Bishop resigns any other jurisdictions for which he or she might have pastoral responsibility.

The correct style for the Presiding Bishop is "The Most Reverend".

Presently, Katharine Jefferts Schori holds the position, having been elected in June 2006. She was invested and seated as Presiding Bishop in a service at the National Cathedral in Washington on November 4, 2006. Jefferts Schori is the first woman to hold the position.

  • List of Presiding Bishops in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America

Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America[]

Stephen Elliott, first bishop of Georgia was the only Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America.

Reformed Episcopal Church[]

Leonard W. Riches is the current Presiding Bishop. This church continues Apostolic Succession through George D. Cummins who left the Episcopal Church, USA in the 19th century.

Note: The Reformed Episcopal Church is not in communion with the Anglican Communion.

Church of God in Christ[]

The Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ is currently Bishop Charles E. Blake. He was preceded in this position by Bishop G.E. Patterson.

See also[]

External links[]

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