Diocese of California elects Austin K. Rios bishop coadjutor

By ENS Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2023

[Diocese of California] The Rev. Austin K. Rios was elected bishop coadjutor on Dec. 2 in an election held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. 

He will become the ninth bishop of the Diocese of California when the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, who has served the diocese since 2006, retires. Rios will be the first Latino to hold the position.

The Rev. Austin K. Rios, bishop-elect of the Diocese of California. Photo: Diocese of California

Rios currently serves as rector of St. Paul’s Within the Walls Episcopal Church in Rome, Italy. He was chosen from a field of three nominees. On the second ballot, he received 95 clergy votes and 195 lay votes.

“We are deeply grateful for God’s grace and the prayerful discernment of our diocesan family that brought us to this moment,” said the Rev. Mauricio Wilson, president of the diocesan standing committee, in a statement. The diocesan standing committee is the senior governing body that oversaw the election process.

Rios was born in Texas. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. He was ordained a priest in 2005. Rios is fluent in both Spanish and Italian. He is married to Maleah Rios and has one child.

“God has blessed our diocese with so many resources and the gift of proximity to and influence upon the ideas, trends, and possibilities for the future of our world,” Rios said in an address to the diocese shortly after being elected. “We as a connected network of congregations called DioCal have the chance to bless the larger church and the world through our witness that a multicultural, multigenerational, multi-faceted, and multilingual community is where our greatest strength and possibility as a people are found.”

Pending the consent of a majority of bishops and standing committees in The Episcopal Church, Rios will be ordained as bishop coadjutor on May 4, 2024. He will serve as bishop coadjutor until July 2024, when Andrus is scheduled to retire.

The other nominees were:

  • The Rev. Augusta Anne Anderson, canon to the ordinary and chief of staff, Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina; and
  • The Rev. Phil Brochard, rector, All Souls Parish, Berkeley, California.

The diocese includes 72 congregations and more than 18,000 members.