Wyoming Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler deposed as a result of Title IV investigation

By ENS Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2024
Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler

The Rt. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Wyoming in February 2021. Photo: Diocese of Wyoming

[Episcopal News Service] Wyoming Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler has been stripped of holy orders, meaning he is no longer ordained in The Episcopal Church, according to a March 27 press release from the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, acting in her role as presiding bishop-designate for some Title IV matters, announced that she and Chandler have entered an accord resolving the Title IV charges against him. Under the terms of the accord, Chandler has voluntarily agreed to a sentence of deposition. The Disciplinary Board for Bishops has approved this accord as required by church canons, the release said.

A procedure chronology of the case can be found here.

Wyoming’s standing committee continues to serve as the ecclesiastical authority and will remain in partnership with The Episcopal Church’s Office of Pastoral Development to determine next steps, according to a statement from the Rev. Megan Nickles, president of the committee.

“We are saddened by this news yet are thankful for the resolution. Lift up your prayers for the Chandler family and all who are affected by this outcome,” she said.

Last October, Chandler was placed on administrative leave following a brief restriction on his ministry. At the time, a letter to the diocese from the chair of its standing committee cited “an alleged indiscretion with a member of our diocesan team.” No further information regarding the allegations has been made public. The diocese elected Chandler its 10th bishop in September 2020, and he had served as bishop of Wyoming since February 2021.

In a statement sent to Episcopal News Service, Chandler said, “My decision to voluntarily leave ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is not in any way an admittance of the specific allegations and charges brought against me. This decision, as difficult as it is, allows me to stay true to myself, as well as to be faithful to my calling: ‘Seeking to enable others to enter a deeper dimension spiritually and experience the beauty of God in fresh ways.’ We have certainly experienced God’s presence throughout this challenging time in profoundly moving ways,” he said.

Chandler grew up in Senegal, West Africa. He previously served a decade as rector of the Anglican Church in Cairo, Egypt. He has been recognized throughout the church as a global leader and has spent much of his life focused on building bridges between the Abrahamic faith traditions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. He founded CARAVAN, an international nonprofit that uses art to promote peace and harmony through the arts.

The resolution of Chandler’s case comes at a time when bishops and other church leaders have been calling for greater oversight and transparency in disciplinary cases involving bishops. In February, The Episcopal Church, under Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s direction, updated its website to launch a series of informational resources, including chronologies of active cases involving bishops under the church’s Title IV disciplinary canons and making it easier for the public to file complaints and navigate the church’s inquiry process. Title IV canons apply to all clergy, including priests and deacons.