Episcopal Diocese of California

Bishop of California
Marc Andrus
CountryUnited States
TerritoryCounties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo
Ecclesiastical provinceVIII
Congregations75 (2022)
Members17,930 (2022)
First holderWilliam Ingraham Kip
DenominationEpiscopal Church
EstablishedFebruary 5, 1857
CathedralGrace Cathedral
Location of the Diocese of California
Location of the Diocese of California

The Episcopal Diocese of California is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) in Northern California.


The founding Episcopal diocese in the state, once encompassing all of California, today the diocese comprises Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties, and the cities of Los Altos and part of Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The see city is San Francisco, California, and the diocesan cathedral is Grace Cathedral on top of Nob Hill. The primary convention of the Missionary District of California met at Trinity Church in San Francisco on June 24, 1850. The diocese was then established on February 5, 1857, when the first diocesan bishop was elected. Fran Toy was the first female cleric to be elected as a deputy to General Convention from the Episcopal Diocese of California in 1988[1] and was also the first Asian American woman to be ordained in the Episcopal church.[1][2]

The headquarters is located in the buildings adjacent to Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill in San Francisco.

The eighth and current bishop of California is Marc Andrus, formerly suffragan bishop of Alabama, who was invested with the office on July 22, 2006, succeeding William E. Swing. The Diocesan Convention elected Austin K. Rios as the next bishop on December 2, 2023. Bishop Rios was consecrated at Grace Cathedral on May 4, 2024, and currently serves as Bishop Coadjutor in preparation to succeed Bishop Andrus as the ninth bishop in July, 2024.

2006 bishop election controversy[edit]

In October 2004, Swing announced his retirement at the diocesan convention. By early 2006, after a search process, a slate of seven finalists were presented to the diocese as candidates to succeed him.[3] Among the seven finalists were a lesbian and two gay men in long-term relationships with their partners. None of the seven candidates on the ballot had made an affirmation to the Church that their relationship was celibate. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, a consultative body of the wider Anglican Communion without jurisdictional authority for any national Church, had declared abstinence to be "right" for those not called to heterosexual marriage.

This election became widely watched by many in the Anglican Communion. Some feared that the elevation of a second gay bishop would cause a schism between the ECUSA and the rest of the Anglican Communion.[4][5]

Marc Andrus, Suffragan Bishop of Alabama, was elected on the third ballot[6] with the openly homosexual candidates receiving only a few votes.[7] His election was confirmed at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in June 2006. He was installed as the eighth Bishop of California on July 22, 2006, at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.

Affiliated Schools[edit]

The diocese operates The Episcopal School for Deacons as a college for training deacons. The school is located on the grounds of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, two blocks to the north of the University of California, Berkeley.

List of diocesan Bishops of California[edit]

Bishops of California
From Until Incumbent Notes
1857 1893 William Ingraham Kip Missionary Bishop to California, 1853–1856; died in office.
1893 1924 William Ford Nichols Coadjutor 1890-1893
1924 1940 Edward L. Parsons Coadjutor 1919-1924
1941 1958 Karl M. Block Coadjutor 1938-1940, died in Grace Cathedral on September 20, 1958
1958 1966 James Pike Coadjutor 1958, resigned following censure for radical theological views.
1967 1979 C. Kilmer Myers Previously suffragan bishop in Michigan.
1981 2006 William E. Swing Coadjutor 1979
2006 present Marc Handley Andrus Previously suffragan bishop in Alabama 2002-2006.
2024 present Austin Keith Rios Bishop Coadjutor.

List of suffragan and assistant bishops[edit]

Suffragan and assistant bishops in California
From Until Incumbent Notes
1951 1958 Henry H. Shires, suffragan bishop
1960 1978 Richard Millard, suffragan bishop previously bishop over Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.
2008 2009 Steven Charleston, assistant bishop resigned.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Fran Toy, Associate Clergy". St. John's. Retrieved 2024-05-08.
  2. ^ "Episcopal News Service: Press Release # 060810-04". episcopalarchives.org. Retrieved 2024-05-08.
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060521234526/http://www.bishopsearch.org/
  4. ^ San Francisco Chronicle – Episcopalians avoid rift in picking bishop
  5. ^ BBC News – Bishop vote avoids gay clergy row, May 6, 2006
  6. ^ Episcopal News Service – California diocese elects Marc Andrus as bishop Archived 2006-05-19 at the Wayback Machine, May 7, 2006
  7. ^ Washington Post – Calif. Episcopalians Elect New Bishop
  8. ^ Diocese of California – Bishop Steven Charleston announces transition

External links[edit]

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