The Episcopal Church in Southern Virginia is a diverse Eucharistic community, committed to the Gospel, collaborating for strength, innovating for growth, equipping each other to live in the world as disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia includes approximately thirty thousand Episcopalians in 108 congregations between the Dan River and the Eastern Shore. We are a diocese of The Episcopal Church in the United States, a province of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.
The diocese was formed in 1892 from the extensive Diocese of Virginia, which dates back four centuries to 1607, when colonists sent from England paused on their way into the Chesapeake Bay for fresh water and a view of their new land. The Reverend Robert Hunt, spiritual advisor to the settlers, planted a cross into a sand dune near Cape Henry, proclaiming England’s unique brand of Christianity as the official faith of the new colony. The Church of England (Episcopal Church) would remain the established church of Virginia for the next 172 years.
Today, the diocese stretches more than 300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean westward to Dan River and from the south side of the James River at Richmond to the North Carolina border. The present size and shape of the diocese dates from 1892, when it was carved out of the Diocese of Virginia, and from 1919 when the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia was formed from its western counties. It includes the large metropolitan areas of Tidewater and Greater Richmond with congregations in excess of fifteen hundred members, to vast rural areas with dozens of churches of less than one hundred parishioners.
We have been blessed with a legacy of excellent leadership through our bishops:
The Rt. Rev. Alfred M. Randolph, Diocesan 1892-1918
The Rt. Rev. Beverly D. Tucker, Coadjutor 1906-1918; Diocesan 1918-1930.
The Rt. Rev. Arthur C. Thompson, Suffragan 1917-1919; Coadjutor 1919-1930; Diocesan 1930-1937.
The Rt. Rev. William A. Brown, Diocesan 1938-1950.
The Rt. Rev. George C. Gunn, Coadjutor 1948-1950; Diocesan 1950-1971.
The Rt. Rev. David S. Rose, Suffragan 1958-1964; Coadjutor 1964-1971; Diocesan 1971-1978.
The Rt. Rev. C. Charles Vaché, Coadjutor 1976-1978; Diocesan 1978-1991.
The Rt. Rev. Frank H. Vest, Coadjutor 1989-1991; Diocesan 1991-1998.
The Rt. Rev. O’Kelley Whitaker, Assisting Bishop 1992-1997.
The Rt. Rev. David C. Bane, Jr. Coadjutor 1997-1998; Diocesan 1998-2006.
The Rt. Rev. Donald P. Hart, Assisting Bishop 1998-2001.
The Rt. Rev. Carol Joy W. T. Gallagher, Suffragan 2002-2005.
The Rt. Rev. Robert H. Johnson, Assisting Bishop 2006.
The Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, Assisting Bishop 2006-2009.
The Rt. Rev. Herman Hollerith IV, Diocesan 2009-