Scenes from the Electing Convention on Jan. 28, 2023
The Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey has elected the Rev. Canon Dr. Sally French to serve as the thirteenth bishop of the diocese. She will be consecrated and installed as the bishop of New Jersey on June 24, succeeding Bishop William H. “Chip” Stokes, who is retiring.
French currently serves as Canon for Regional Ministry and Collaborative Innovation in the Diocese of North Carolina. Prior to joining diocesan staff, she spent twenty years in parish ministry, serving congregations of many sizes and types. Raised in Toronto, Canada, French earned a bachelors degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto (Economics, History), a Master of Divinity through the Toronto School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. She was ordained a priest in 2001. She and her husband Clarke have two children living at home.
In brief remarks delivered via Zoom after the election results were announced, French thanked the voters, the Search and Transition Committees, and her fellow candidates. Concerning her forthcoming position as bishop of New Jersey she said, “I look forward to serving with love.”
The bishop-elect was chosen from a slate of five nominees by clergy and lay leaders representing each congregation of the diocese during a special hybrid convention held on Jan. 28 at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton and online via Zoom. She was elected on the third round of balloting with 68 percent of the clergy votes and 56 percent of lay votes. A majority of both clergy and lay votes in the same round was needed for election.
“I believe the Holy Spirit has led us to a remarkable leader who is deeply grounded in the faith and love of Jesus Christ,” Stokes said. “Canon French brings gifts and skills in ministry that are well aligned to address the needs and challenges facing the Church and the Diocese of New Jersey at this moment in its life and history. I look forward to welcoming her and her family to the Diocese of New Jersey and serving with her in this exciting time of transition.”
Before the election is official, the Diocese of must receive notification from Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry that a majority of both the various diocesan standing committees and the bishops exercising jurisdiction in The Episcopal Church have consented to the reception of Canon French as a bishop of The Episcopal Church—and to her appointment as bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, per Canon III.10.5. That process may take as long as 90 days.
The other nominees were The Rev. Canon Dr. Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Rhode Island; The Very Rev. Troy Mendez, Dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona; The Rev. Janine Schenone, Rector, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, San Diego, California; and The Rev. Dr. Mauricio Jose Wilson, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Oakland, California.