Kara Wagner Sherer elected ninth bishop of Rochester

Posted Feb 26, 2024

[Diocese of Rochester] The Very Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer was elected. Feb. 24 to be the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Rochester in western New York. She serves as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chicago, Illinois, and as dean of the Chicago North Deanery.

The Very Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer was elected the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Rochester in Western New York on Feb. 24, 2024. Photo: Diocese of Rochester

“I say yes with joy. It will be an honor and privilege,” Wagner Sherer said in an address to the diocese moments after being elected. “I am excited that we are going to learn much more about each other and listen to God’s call to hopeful mission and ministry. I know two things right now. We begin with mutual love. Love that will be expressed in joy. We are going to have a lot of fun together, and we’re confident in that deep and abiding joy, given to us by our creator to share with the world. Thank you. It’s an honor.”

Wagner Sherer was chosen during a special electing convention by clergy and lay leaders representing each diocese’s congregation. She was elected on the fifth ballot with 58% of the clerical votes and 56% of lay votes. A majority of both clergy and lay votes on the same ballot was needed for election. She will be the diocese’s first female bishop. 

“We are excited to welcome the Very Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer as the ninth bishop of Rochester. Her experience in the Diocese of Chicago as rector and regional dean, her leadership and pastoral skills, and her commitment to healing and justice will be embraced by the people of our diocese as we strive to respond to God’s call,” said Elizabeth Salamone, president of the diocesan standing committee, the senior governing body that oversaw the election process.

The other two candidates were: 

  • The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett, Washington; and
  • The Rev. Lauren R. Holder, canon for community and education of Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia.

Retired Maine Bishop Stephen T. Lane has served as provisional bishop since former Bishop Prince Singh resigned in 2022 to become the provisional bishop for the dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan. Singh resigned on Sept. 8, 2023, the day after he was restricted in his ordained ministry amid a Title IV disciplinary investigation. 

The Diocese of Rochester includes about 6,500 parishioners in 41 congregations. Pending canonical consent, she will be consecrated on July 13 and seated in September.