Bringing people together goal of new Nevada Episcopal bishop

March 5, 2022 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The new head of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada said Friday that although the coronavirus pandemic has isolated people, she wants to bring people together.

The Rev. Elizabeth Bonforte Gardner will be consecrated Saturday as the leader of the Las Vegas-based diocese. She met with reporters along with the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church.

Curry, who delivered the sermon at the British royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in England in May 2018, will officiate at Gardner’s installation ceremony.

“We may not necessarily agree with one another on everything, but the important thing is that we are working together at the table,” Gardner said in comments reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And so that’s one of the things I’d like to bring to Nevada, is this idea that even as individuals, we’re part of something much bigger.”

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Gardner most recently served as Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia. She co-founded Potomac Episcopal, a collaboration of four churches that banded together during the pandemic to expand pastoral work in Washington, D.C.

In Nevada, she succeeds Bishop Dan Edwards, who was elected in 2007 and retired in 2018. The diocese administers more than 30 congregations, ministries and outreach in southern, northern and rural Nevada.

The Rt. Rev. James Edward Waggoner Jr. of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, has served as assisting bishop in Nevada since Bishop Edwards’ retirement.

Curry is the first Black leader of the Episcopal Church. He presided in 2018 at the state funerals of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral.

Gardner will be the second woman to lead the Las Vegas Diocese. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was Bishop of Nevada before her election in 2006 as the first female Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. She was succeeded by Curry in 2015.