The Rt. Rev’d E. Mark Stevenson, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, announced today the appointment of the Rt. Rev’d Gayle Elizabeth Harris as Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. Bishop Harris is currently Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts.
“I could not be more thrilled that Bishop Harris has accepted this call to serve as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Virginia. Her wisdom, wide-ranging church experience, and love of Jesus will be a gift to us all. Bishop Harris is prayerful, intentional, and devoted to the Good News that God is love. And personally, I am so very thankful that I will have such a clear thinking and fun-loving ministry partner as we – as a diocese – walk the path that Christ has put before us.”
Bishop Harris will play a lead role in broadening and deepening the Diocese’s formation ministries for both clergy and lay leaders. She will also share in the full range of episcopal duties, including support of clergy, congregational development, and visitations to churches, schools, colleges, and retirement communities.
“As a former resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I feel honored and richly blessed to be appointed Assistant Bishop by Bishop Stevenson,” said Bishop Harris in a greeting to the people of the Diocese. “Joyfully, I look forward to joining with you in the proclamation of the Gospel of love and reconciliation in the Diocese of Virginia and beyond. I pray that our ministry together in the name of Jesus, continues to empower us to be God’s agents of healing and transformation in our own lives, and in the world.”
Bishop Harris begins her ministry in the Diocese of Virginia on April 1, 2023 and will live in Richmond, Va.
About Bishop Harris
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Bishop Harris obtained her Master of Divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. She was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 in the Diocese of Newark (New Jersey), where she served as Assistant to the Vicar at Grace Church (Van Vorst) in Jersey City. She then moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as Diocesan Urban Resident at St. Philip the Evangelist Church from 1982 to 1984. She was priest-in-charge of Holy Communion Church from 1984 to 1992, also serving at that time as Nave Clergy at Washington National Cathedral.
While in the Diocese of Washington, Bishop Harris served on a range of diocesan leadership committees, including: the Standing Committee (President); the Nominating Committee for Bishop Suffragan; the Search Committee for Dean of Washington National Cathedral; and the diocesan Committee on Budget and Finance. She also served two terms on both The Episcopal Church Committee on Church Structure, and the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee.
In 1992, she was called as rector of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene Church in Rochester, New York, where she served until her June 1, 2002, election as Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts.
Prior to her election as bishop, she served the Diocese of Rochester as a Dean and was a member of the Commission on Ministry, the Worship and Liturgy Committee and Companion Diocese Task Force. She was twice elected as Deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (1997, 2000).
Bishop Harris completed service in 2006 as a member of the Joint Nominating Committee for the election of the former Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. She is a past Vice Chair of the Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees. During her time on the Board of Trustees, she was assigned to the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, the Governance Committee, the Benefits Policy Committee, and the Social and Fiduciary Responsibility in Investments Committee. She has served on the Board of Directors of CREDO and the Steering Committee for Bishops Working for a Just World.
Bishop Harris formerly chaired the House of Bishops' Pastoral Development Committee, is currently the Convener of the Episcopal Bishops of African Descent, and is on The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Theology of Money. Bishop Harris is a member of the House of Bishops’ Planning Committee and of the Standing Committee on Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations of the Church. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Church Investment Group.
In the Diocese of Massachusetts, she is on the board of the Old North Church Foundation and serves as vice president of Episcopal City Mission. She is a past President of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Bishop Harris leads annual pilgrimages from the Diocese of Massachusetts to the Holy Land, and is active in the Diocese of Massachusetts partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Bishop Harris received an honorary Doctor of Humanity degree from the New England School of Law and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.