Bishop Roundup: S. Dakota, Iowa, Lexington, Missouri, Maryland

South Dakota

On November 2, Jonathan H. Folts became the XI Bishop of South Dakota — and the second bishop in his immediate family.

Bishop Jonathan Folts | Christopher Corbin

Folts’s father, retired Bishop James E. Folts, served as both a co-consecrator and as the preacher. The elder Folts previously ordained his son as both a deacon and a priest in the Diocese of West Texas.

Episcopal News Service reported that in his sermon, the elder Folts told his son that of his three ordinations, “the one that changed your life the most, was that first one, the one that made you a deacon. For in that one … you declared your desire, your intention and indeed your willingness, for the rest of your life, to be a servant.”

The consecration took place in Pierre, and the local Capital Journal reported that Folts is looking forward to a lot of “windshield time” as he visits the 78 congregations spread across the entire state, including two in Nebraska and one in Minnesota. Fifty of those congregations are on Indian reservations, and the paper said South Dakota is the only diocese in the Church where a majority of members are Native Americans. Part of the service was conducted in the Lakota language.

According to ENS, about 60 percent the baptized Episcopalians are either Dakota, Lakota or Nakota Sioux. The diocese also has one congregation composed of Sudanese immigrants in Sioux Falls. According to 2018 parochial reports, there are about 9,700 baptized members in the diocese.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry was chief consecrator, and another co-consecrator was the younger Folts’s predecessor as Bishop of South Dakota, the Rt. Rev. John T. Tarrant, who retired earlier in the year. Folts has been serving as acting bishop since August.


The Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe has announced plans to retire as Bishop of Iowa in September 2021, and called for the election of his successor in Spring 2021. He made his announcement October 26 at the annual diocesan convention.

Scarfe has led the Diocese of Iowa April 2003. “He has been active in social justice issues through his involvement with Bishops United Against Gun Violence, support for the LGBTQ+ community and encouragement of the Becoming Beloved Community initiative development,” according to ENS.


The Rt. Rev.  Mark Van Koevering, who has served as bishop provisional of the Diocese of Lexington since April 2018, was elected bishop diocesan at a special convention of the diocese on November 2.

Koevering came to Lexington by a circuitous route. He was serving as an assisting bishop in West Virginia for more than two  years, after 12 years as Bishop of Niassa in Mozambique, part of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Before that he was a priest in the Church in Wales, which is one of the provinces of the Anglican Communion. He was born in Michigan, and  was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and a teacher in China before ordination.


The Diocese of Missouri conducted walkabouts in early November, and will elect the XI Bishop of Missouri on November 23. From left in the photo, candidates include: the Rev. Deon K. Johnson, rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brighton, MI; the Rev. Stacey Fussell, rector at Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Bradford, PA;  and the Rev. George D. Smith, rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn, IL.


The Rt. Rev. Robert Ihloff, the retired XIII Bishop of Maryland, will return to Maryland as assisting bishop on January 1, 2020. The announcement was made by the XIV Bishop of Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, who remains bishop diocesan.


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