Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

Episcopal Diocese of Iowa
Diocese of Iowa
Ecclesiastical province Province VI
Subdivisions 10 Mission Chapters[1]
Congregations 62[1]
Members 11,000[1]
Rite Episcopal
Cathedral Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Des Moines
Trinity Cathedral, Davenport
Current leadership
Bishop Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe

Location of the Diocese of Iowa

The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa is the diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America which covers all of Iowa. It is in Province VI. Its offices are in Des Moines, and it has two cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines and Trinity Cathedral in Davenport.



Rt. Rev. Henry Washington Lee

The Episcopal Church in Iowa can trace its roots to 1836 when services were held occasionally in Dubuque by the Rev. Richard F. Cadle. He was followed by the Rev. E. G. Gear and the Rev. J. Batchelder. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Philander Chase, Bishop of Illinois, visited Scott County in the fall of 1837.[2]

The church started to develop across the state of Iowa. In July, 1853, the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, missionary bishop of the Northwest, invited clergy and representatives of all the congregations in the state to meet at Trinity Church in Muscatine. On Wednesday, August 17, the Rev. Alfred Louderback, rector of Trinity Church, Davenport, was elected chairman in the bishop's absence. The constitutions and canons for the diocese were adopted and plans were made for the election of a bishop. The General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America admitted the Diocese of Iowa to its membership in October, 1853.

On May 31, 1854, the first convention of the Diocese of Iowa began in Trinity Church, Davenport. The Rev. Henry Washington Lee, rector of St. Luke's Church, Rochester, New York, was elected the first bishop of Iowa. He was consecrated in his church in Rochester on October 18, 1854. Bishop Lee preached in the diocese for the first time on October 29, 1854 in St. John's Church, Dubuque.[2]

The cornerstone for Trinity Cathedral, then called Grace Cathedral, was laid in 1867. The building was completed in 1873. It is the second church built as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church in the United States.[3] In 1992 St. Paul's Church in Des Moines was named the diocese's liturgical cathedral [4] and Trinity was maintained as its historic cathedral. Trinity, St. Paul's and ten other Episcopal churches in Iowa are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

Coat of arms

The present Coat of Arms for the Diocese of Iowa were designed by Cram and Ferguson and approved at the 1946 Diocesan Convention. The arms consist of the a field of green, which represents Iowa's prairies, bisected by two lines that represent the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. The gold cross contains five red diamonds which represent the five communities where the Episcopal Church in Iowa was organized: Dubuque, Davenport, Muscatine, Burlington, and Keokuk. The cross is surrounded by four ears of corn that represents Iowa’s agricultural heritage. A bishop's mitre tops the shield and it is surrounded by the words, "Seal of the Diocese of Iowa 1853." [5]

Companion Dioceses


Trinity Cathedral in Davenport

The following is a list of the bishops who have served the diocese of Iowa and their dates of service:[8]

  1. † Rt. Rev. Henry Washington Lee, D.D., LL.D. (October 18, 1854 - September 26, 1874) Died
  2. † Rt. Rev. William Stevens Perry, D.D., LL.D. D.C.L., (September 10, 1876 - May 13, 1898) Died
  3. † Rt. Rev. Theodore Nevin Morrison, D.D., LL.D. (February 22, 1899 - December 27, 1929) Died
  4. † Rt. Rev. Harry Sherman Longley, D.D. (October 23, 1912 - November 1, 1843) Retired; Died, April 5, 1944
  5. † Rt. Rev. Elwood Lindsay Haines, D.D. (May 31, 1944 - October 28, 1949) Died
  6. † Rt. Rev. Gordon V. Smith, S.T.D., D.D. (April 20, 1950 - December 31, 1971) Retired; Died, August 27, 1997
  7. † Rt. Rev. Walter Cameron Righter, D.D. (January 12, 1972 - December 31, 1988) Retired; Died September 11, 2011
  8. Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, D.D. (September 27, 1988 - April 15, 2001) Resigned to become the Episcopal Church's deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations
  9. Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, D.D. (April 5, 2003–present)

† = Deceased


  1. ^ a b c d "Who We Are". www.iowaepiscopal.org. http://www.iowaepiscopal.org/about_us/who_we_are.php. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  2. ^ a b "Chapter XX: Churches and Parishes". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. http://www.celticcousins.net/scott/chapter20.html. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  3. ^ Horton, Loren N. (2003). The Beautiful Heritage: A History of the Diocese of Iowa. Des Moines: Diocese of Iowa. p. 44. 
  4. ^ Horton, 121
  5. ^ Horton, 88
  6. ^ "Companion Relationship with the Diocese of Brechin". www.iowaepiscopal.org. http://www.iowaepiscopal.org/about_us/brechin.php. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  7. ^ "Companion Relationship with the Diocese of Swaziland". www.iowaepiscopal.org. http://www.iowaepiscopal.org/about_us/swaziland.php. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  8. ^ "Bishop". www.iowaepiscopal.org. http://www.iowaepiscopal.org/about_us/bishop.php#. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 

External links

Coordinates: 41°34′53″N 93°39′58″W / 41.5815°N 93.666°W / 41.5815; -93.666

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