What is a Diocese?

And what is with praying for two bishops?

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

You may have noticed that every week we pray for “Michael, our presiding bishop; and Barry, our diocesan bishop…” Who are they and what is the distinction?

Michael Curry is the presiding bishop of the entire Episcopal Church, which has 110 dioceses and is in 18 countries. He was elected in 2015 by the bishops of all those dioceses to serve for a nine-year term. He is responsible for overseeing the management and pastoral issues of the full church. He presides when the bishops meet as a “house.” Bishop Curry is the first African American to serve our church in this capacity in our 200-plus year history. His office is in New York. He was previously the bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.

The second is Barry Beisner, and he is the bishop of the Diocese of Northern California (more on that below). He was elected in 2006 by representatives – clergy and lay – of all the congregations in our diocese. His office is in Sacramento. He was previously the canon to the ordinary (chief assistant) to Bishop Jerry Lamb. Before that, Bp. Barry was the Rector of St. Martin’s, Davis.

California has six dioceses. Ours is the Diocese of Northern California, which is the northern region of the state including from Sonoma County north to Oregon, and to the east including Sacramento and beyond to the state line with Nevada. The Diocese of California is the counties of the Bay Area. The Diocese of San Joaquin is the Central Valley south of Sacramento to the Tehachapi mountains, and east including much of the Sierra Nevada. The Diocese of El Camino is the Central Coast from San Jose to San Luis Obispo. The Diocese of Los Angeles is the LA Basin, Orange County and much of the desert. And the Diocese of San Diego is San Diego, Imperial County and the rest of the desert.