Delaware's Episcopalians Elect Their 11th Bishop

MIDDLETOWN, Del.  – Delaware’s Episcopalians on Saturday, July 15, 2017, elected the Rev. Kevin S. Brown of Charlotte, N.C., as their 11th diocesan bishop.

The Rev. Brown, currently rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte, will be ordained and consecrated on December 9 by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Delaware State University in Dover will be the site of the service.

He was elected on the fifth ballot, and clergy and lay delegates cheered the announcement. The Rev. Patricia Downing of Wilmington, one of the five final candidates for bishop, moved that the election be declared unanimous.

Contacted at his home in Charlotte, the Rev. Brown said he and his wife, Caroline, were following the balloting on Twitter while working on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle to distract them.

“It’s humbling and inspiring,” he said, describing his election as “a moment when time seemed to stand still.”

He quickly acknowledged the other four candidates on the slate. “I have heard time and time again that Delaware was graced with a remarkable slate of candidates,” he said, citing the “brilliance, energy and the spirit of all the candidates.”

The Rev. Brown grew up in Asheville, N.C., and studied mathematics and psychology at Duke University. He completed his M.B.A. while in the United States Air Force, worked in finance and marketing at FedEx, and launched an investment firm before his call to the priesthood.

At Holy Comforter, he led the merger of separate English and Spanish preschools into a single groundbreaking school focused on bilingual education and dedicated to access for low-income and immigrant families. He previously served as rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Paris, Tennessee.

His education includes an M.B.A. from the University of West Florida and a Master of Divinity from The General Theological Seminary in New York City. His wife, Caroline, is an accomplished artist and they have two daughters in college in North Carolina.

The Rev. Brown will succeed the Right Rev. Wayne P. Wright, who retired in February 2017. He will shepherd 9,300 Episcopalians in 34 congregations throughout Delaware. He also will serve as chief pastor to the diocese’s clergy and deacons and often takes a leadership role in social justice issues on a statewide level.

The search process began in the summer of 2016, with the appointment of lay and clergy search committee members. The Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick, rector of St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church in Wilmington, and Steven Boyden of Christ Church Christiana Hundred in Wilmington, co-chaired the Search Committee. The search team considered more than 50 applicants who had responded to the diocesan profile.

The Rev. David Andrews, rector of Saints Andrew and Matthew in Wilmington, and Sue Taber of St. David’s in Wilmington, co-chaired the Transition Committee.

The five candidates were announced this May. They were the Right Rev. Laura Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut; the Very Rev. Michael Battle, Herbert Thompson Professorial Chair of Church and Society and director of the Desmond Tutu Center, General Theological Seminary, New York City; the Rev. Kevin S. Brown. Rector, Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte, N.C.; the Rev. Patricia S. Downing, rector, Trinity Parish in Wilmington, Del.; and the Rev. Canon Scott A. Gunn, executive director, Forward Movement, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The five candidates participated in three “walkabouts” throughout Delaware June 28-30, appearing before a congregation each evening to answer questions. About 600 people attended the three gatherings.

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