Taylor, dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, known for work on
social justice issues, community outreach, interfaith efforts
SEATTLE The dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral is among five finalists for the position of bishop of the Diocese of California.
If elected, the Very Rev. Robert Taylor would become the second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The denomination has been divided on the issue of homosexuality, especially since the 2003 election of the church’s first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire.
“I feel just honored and humbled by the trust and faith of the diocese in including me on their list of nominees,” said Taylor.
He added that he hopes the church would focus on issues other than gay clergy, such as poverty, health care and ministering to the larger society.
Taylor is known for his work on social justice, community outreach and interfaith efforts. He helped fight against apartheid in his native South Africa, which he left in 1980 with help from Nobel laureate and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Taylor, 47, has led St. Mark’s Cathedral on Capitol Hill since 1999. During his tenure, membership has risen from 1,900 to 2,400.
He’s served as chairman of King County’s Committee to End Homelessness and is founding president of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, which raises money for Tutu’s peace center in Cape Town, South Africa.
Taylor previously served as rector at St. Peter Church in Peekskill, N.Y., where the congregation grew from about 50 to 550 during his 11 years there.
The finalists to succeed the California Diocese’s Bishop William Swing were announced Monday at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where the California Diocese is based.
In addition to Taylor, candidates include the Rt. Rev. Mark Handley Andrus, an assistant bishop of the Diocese of Alabama; the Rev. Jane Gould, rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Lynn, Mass.; the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints’ Church in Chicago; and the Rev. Canon Eugene Taylor Sutton, canon pastor at Washington National Cathedral in the nation’s capital.
Perry is also openly gay.
Finalists will meet with members of the diocese April 24-29. The election is scheduled on May 6. The bishop-elect is to be confirmed at the denomination’s national gathering in June.
The Diocese of California has about 27,000 members in the Bay Area.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, February 24, 2006.