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Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Diocese of Maryland
Ecclesiastical province Province III
Congregations 106
Members 39,982 (2014)
Rite Episcopal
Cathedral Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore
Current leadership
Bishop Eugene Sutton
Location of the Diocese of Maryland
Location of the Diocese of Maryland

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland forms part of Province 3 of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Having been divided twice, it no longer has all of Maryland and now consists of the central, northern, and western Maryland counties of Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington as well as the independent city of Baltimore.


  • History 1
  • Bishops 2
  • Notes 3
  • External links 4


The Diocese of Maryland is one of the nine original dioceses of the Episcopal Church and traces its roots to 1608 when Captain John Smith oversaw the first Christian worship in the upper Chesapeake Bay.[1] In 1692, a law passed by the province's general assembly established the Church of England and the colony, which was divided into ten counties, was divided into 30 parishes (See List of the original 30 Anglican parishes in the Province of Maryland). Sometimes the parish church was centrally located; other times multiple churches or chapels served distant population centers within the parish.

In 1780, a meeting in Chestertown, Maryland, in Kent County at Washington College of Anglican clergy and laity led to the formation of the Diocese of Maryland. By 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, the developing diocese had 47 parishes and about 38 clergy (See List of post 1692 Anglican parishes in the Province of Maryland).

In 1789, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America was founded. The diocese's first bishop, the Right Reverend Thomas John Claggett (1743-1816), was the first American bishop of the Episcopal Church consecrated in the country, in 1792 at Trinity Church facing historic Wall Street in New York City. Among notable historical events in the diocese is the first African-American Episcopal congregations in the South, St. James' Church, at Lafayette Square, in west Baltimore. Another first among Maryland's bishops was the election of Bishop John Gardner Murray as Presiding Bishop. He was the first elected primate of the Episcopal Church; for his predecessors, the senior member of the House of Bishops, automatically assumed the position.

The diocese has been divided twice. First in 1868, the Charles and St. Mary's counties became the Diocese of Washington.

On March 29, 2008, the Rev. Canon Eugene Taylor Sutton was elected as the 14th bishop of the diocese;[2] the first African-American to serve in that capacity was consecrated June 28, 2008. In 2014, the diocese elected the Rev. Canon Heather Cook as its first female bishop and she was consecrated as suffragan to Bishop Sutton.[3] However, she was placed on administrative leave at the end of 2014 after involvement in a traffic fatality in north Baltimore.[4] Bishop Cook was charged with drunk driving, texting while driving, and leaving the scene of the crime, in addition to vehicular manslaughter.[5] On January 22, 2015, the standing committee of the diocese requested that Bishop Cook resign her position.[6] This was followed by the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, placing formal restrictions on Cook preventing her from presenting herself as an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church.[7] On May 1, 2015, Jefferts Schori announced that both she and the Diocese of Maryland had accepted Cook's resignation as a bishop and as an employee of the diocese. Moreover, both parties reached an accord where Cook received a "Sentence of Disposition" which stripped Cook of her ordained status.[8]

The Diocese of Maryland currently has 117 congregations (12 are missions, the rest are parishes), and membership of more than 44,200. The bishop's seat is at the Cathedral of the Incarnation on University Parkway, between North Charles Street and St. Paul Street in north Baltimore, near the neighborhoods of Roland Park and Charles Village.


Cathedral of the Incarnation


  1. ^ History of the Diocese of Maryland
  2. ^ "Maryland elects Eugene Sutton as 14th bishop" Episcopal News Service, March 29, 2008
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Baltimore Brew website.
  6. ^ Letter to Bishop Cook Requesting Resignation (PDF), Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, retrieved February 16, 2015 
  7. ^ Presiding Bishop further restricts ministry of Heather Cook,  
  8. ^ Dual actions end Heather Cook’s ordained ministry, employment, Episcopal News Service, 2015, retrieved 2015-05-01 

External links

  • Diocese of Maryland website
  • Journal of the Annual Convention, Diocese of Maryland

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