By Kirk Petersen
The Rt. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, who has served as the 10th Bishop of Wyoming since February 2021, “has been placed on administrative leave due to pending Title IV allegations against him,” the Public Affairs Office announced October 16. Public Affairs Officer Amanda Skofstad declined to release any details beyond the brief announcement.
But the Rev. Megan W. Nickles, chair of the Wyoming Standing Committee, said in a message to the diocese that it involves “an alleged indiscretion with a member of our Diocesan team, although the allegation did not come from within the Diocesan team itself.” Nickles could not immediately be reached for comment.
Chandler, born in 1964, is the third bishop known to have faced disciplinary charges in the past year, and the announcement comes in the wake of controversy over whether bishops receive a “free pass” in Title IV cases. It also comes just one business day after disclosure of significant tensions in the leadership of the church, regarding allegations that some Executive Council members have treated staff with disrespect.
Chandler is the author of four books and has extensive international experience. At the time of his election in Wyoming, he was rector of Church of the Epiphany in Doha, Qatar, part of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. He previously served as rector of churches in Egypt and Tunisia, and founded CARAVAN, an international nonprofit dedicated to “using the arts to further our global quest for a more harmonious future, both with each other and with the earth,” according to the organization’s website.
In 2020, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby honored Chandler with the Anglican Communion’s Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation, with a citation stating that he “has spent his life focusing strategically on the role of the arts in the context of interfaith peace building, toward building bridges of understanding, respect and friendship between the Abrahamic faiths.”
Title IV, the church’s disciplinary canon, applies to all ordained persons, but for priests and deacons it is normally the diocesan bishop who imposes any sanctions. The presiding bishop fills that role when the accused person is a bishop, but Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry is recovering at home from a major surgery. Chandler’s leave was imposed by Mary Gray-Reeves, vice president of the House of Bishops, who is serving as “presiding bishop-designate” for disciplinary matters.