Rhode Island diocese elects Nicholas Knisely to become 13th bishop

By ENS staff
Posted Jun 2, 2012

The Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely

[Episcopal News Service] The Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely was elected on June 2 to be the 13th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island.

Knisely, 51, dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix, Ariz., was elected on the first ballot out of a field of five nominees.

He received 64 votes of 111 cast in the lay order and 47 of 88 cast in the clergy order. The results are here.  The bishop-elect spoke via cellphone to the electing convention at St. Paul’s Church in Pawtucket.

Knisely will succeed Bishop Geralyn Wolf, 64, who has been the diocesan bishop since February 1996. Wolf preached during the Eucharist that began the electing convention.

Because the election occurred within 120 days of the start of the 77th meeting of General Convention in Indianapolis July 4-12, Episcopal Church canons provide (in Canon III.11.3) for the required consents to be sought from the bishops and deputies at convention.

Assuming that consent is received, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is scheduled to ordain Knisely on Nov. 17 at St. George’s School in Middletown.

Knisely has been dean of the Phoenix cathedral since 2006. Prior to that call, he was rector of St. Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Brackinridge, Pennsylvania. He was curate at another St. Barnabas Church, this one in Wilmington, Delaware. He holds degrees in physics and astronomy from Franklin and Marshall College and the University of Delaware, as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Yale/Berkeley Divinity School.

He was ordained to the diaconate in 1991 and to the priesthood in 1992. Knisely was the first chair of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Communications and has served on various national and international bodies in that field. Knisely maintains a personal blog called “Entangled States.“He and his wife Karen are the parents of one daughter.

The other nominees were:

* the Rev. Kurt Dunkle, 51, rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Orange Park, Florida (Diocese of Florida);

* the Rev. Cathy George, 55, currently on a writing sabbatical; former priest-in-charge, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts (Diocese of Massachusetts);

* the Rev. Ledlie Laughlin, 52, rector, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Diocese of Pennsylvania); and

* the Rev. Jennifer Pedrick, 45, rector, Church of the Epiphany, Rumford, Rhode Island (Diocese of Rhode Island).

A nominee profiles booklet features the nominees’ autobiographies and their answers to four essay questions posed by the Search and Nomination Committee.

The Diocese of Rhode Island has 53 congregations, of which 43 are parishes, with 20,469 members and an average Sunday attendance of 5,601.


Comments (14)

  1. Lee Hughes says:

    Our loss in Phoenix is your gain and we are happy you are getting a wonderful man for bishop. God grant you many happy years together!

    1. Rick Butler says:

      Thank You Lee, Prayers of Thanks for Phoenix and Rhode Island as we move forward….

  2. Timothy Leffler says:

    Rhode Island, you cannot imagine now how wise your vote was, nor how lucky you will be to have Nicholas as your bishop! Many blessings to you and please pray for us at Trinity Cathedral as we mourn our loss and move forward.

  3. Jack Carter says:

    The Diocese of Rhode Island is getting an outstanding person, Nicholas Knisely, as newly elected Bishop. We shall miss him dearly in Phoenix.

  4. Gil Stafford says:

    Dean Knisley will truly be missed in the Diocese of Arizona. He is brilliant, wise, insightful, funny, gracious, prayerful, and a friend. I will miss him and I know many people in Arizona will grieve his leaving. Our prayers of support and prayers go with him. May God bless his ministry and work in his life as bishop in the Church.

  5. William Rhodes says:

    And the co-equal blessing to the people of Rhode Island of Karen Kniseley – a gracious and engaging woman of style and substance, easy-going but with innate and genuine concern for all those around her – blessed with a voice which is glorious enough to sing God’s praises fluently, but is also courgageous and confident enough to speak the truth with persuasive compassion. She is also a First Ballot Choice to all who know her! – Bill Rhodes, Phoenix

  6. Susan Wright says:

    The characteristics that you attribute to Bishop-Elect Knisely in your comments, are precisely what I saw during our Walkabouts. Seems hard to believe that one could get a sense of a person in such a short time, but I knew – and apparently so did many others. I and many others in RI will be praying for you as you process your loss and celebrate your relationships and blessings. Thank you for prayers and generous good wishes. We are so pumped! God’s peace. – Susan Wright, Ascension, Cranston, RI

  7. Dennis Biondolillo says:

    While we in the diocese of Arizona and the people of Trinity Cathedral, Phoenix will mourn the departure of Dean Knisely, the people of Rhode Island have chosen one of the most gifted, holy priests in the entire church to be engaged in the leadership of your diocese. May Nicholas be to you as he was to us: a true pastor, a wise priest and a servant of the gospel. May your diocese grow under his leadership.

  8. Dominic Tatum says:

    Although we have just met, I shall miss Dean Knisely, a gracious pastor. Nicely done Rhode Island. A Diós Knisely family.

  9. Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril says:

    We all knew he’d be bishop someday. He has a prophetic voice that the church needs to hear. My son Martin said when he heard the news: “He was born to be bishop. It is his destiny. He will lead well. ” Dean Kniseley has so many gifts, it will be exciting to see them shared in Rhode Island and in the larger church. His election is one more indication that God is at work. Our prayers and affectionate regard follow Nick and Karen. May the good Lord richly bless all of you in your new life together. Karen, with the voice of an angel, and her gentle, wise, medical presence is a blessing all her own. Many blessings.
    Bob, Martin, and Gwendolyn-Jane +

  10. Sonja White David says:

    On June 2, our dean at Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Nicholas Knisely, was elected Bishop of Rhode Island. We will miss him; he has brought us stability, good preaching, and a great sense of humor. Out of five candidates he was elected on the first ballot. Wise Rhode Islanders!

  11. Hugh McGinn says:

    Destiny and preparation have been the footsteps to your future of becoming a bishop and now fate and circumstances has cemented your journey. Thank you for your time at Trinity. May peace, calm and success always be with you and with your family. I wish that many blessings always come your way.

  12. Margaret Hubbard says:

    Bishop Knisely is the one who introduced me to Jesus and the Episcopal Church! I am forever grateful and forever changed by knowing Bishop Knisely when he was Father Nick at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem. Rhode Island is a fabulous place and I now have just one more reason to visit 🙂

    Blessings to you and your family in your new home and at your new calling!

  13. Rob Renz says:

    Slavery existed on the continent of Africa centuries before America was founded. In addition, blacks trafficked in slavery selling their own people to European slave traders to be exported to America. Lastly, blacks profited from slavery and bare responsibility for the exportation of slavery to America and to conclude slavery exists on the continent of Africa today and is part of their culture.

    The slavery museum should reflect all the historical facts surrounding the slave trade and should assign responsibility to all parties involved not just America.

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