The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the the chief ecumenical officer of the church, and the leader and caretaker for the bishops of the synods. The presiding bishop chairs the biennial Churchwide Assembly and provides for the preparation of agendas for the assembly, the Church Council and its executive committee, the Conference of Bishops, and the Cabinet of Executives. The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA is elected to a maximum of two six year terms and is charged with initiating policy, developing strategy and overseeing administration of the entire church. The presiding bishop also serves as a figure head and speaks on behalf of the entire church.
Currently, Mark S. Hanson serves in the position, having been elected in June 2001. He was installed as Presiding Bishop in a service at the Rockefeller Chapel in Chicago, IL on October 6, 2001 in front of 1,600 persons.
Other Lutheran Churches
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), a mainline Lutheran body similar to the ELCA, uses the term "national bishop" for a similar position. Most other Lutheran churches in North America, especially the Confessional Lutheran bodies use a congregationalist structure and call their national leaders "president."
For a short period the style Presiding Bishop was used by the Anglican Church in New Zealand.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is the presiding authority in the church. Elected to serve a single nine-year term at the church's General Convention, he or she acts as Primate of the national Church and its nine ecclesiastical provinces, and as president of the House of Bishops. The Presiding Bishop is charged with responsibility for leadership in initiating, developing, and articulating policy and strategy, overseeing the administration of the national church staff, and speaking for the Church on issues of concern and interest.
In other churches in the Anglican Communion, an Archbishop or Primus fills a similar role. Unlike an Archbishop, the Presiding Bishop does not have responsibility for a diocese or province. However, before a 1925 change in canon law, the Presiding Bishop was simply the senior diocesan bishop. In modern times, an elected Presiding Bishop resigns any other jurisdictions for which he or she might have pastoral responsibility.
The correct style for the Presiding Bishop is "The Most Reverend".
Presently, Katharine Jefferts Schori holds the position, having been elected in June 2006. She was invested and seated as Presiding Bishop in a service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 2006. Jefferts Schori is the first woman to hold the position.
Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America
- Note: The Reformed Episcopal Church is not in communion with the Anglican Communion.
Latter Day Saints
The Presiding Bishop is an office in the church hierarchy of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint or Mormonism movement. Each Presiding Bishop has two counselors; the three together form the Presiding Bishopric. A man recognized as a "literal descendent of Aaron" (or Kohanim) can, under the direction of the First Presidency, hold the office of Presiding Bishop alone, without counselors. To date, no man in any Latter Day Saint tradition has held the office of Presiding Bishop under these conditions.
The office shares its origin with that of bishop. Edward Partridge was the first man ordained to the office of bishop in the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on February 4, 1831. This office became known as the First Bishop and later the "Presiding Bishop" when subordinate bishops were called in the Nauvoo period (1839–1844).
After the 1844 succession crisis, the office of Presiding Bishop evolved separately in different denominations of the movement.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement, the Presiding Bishop is the highest leadership position within the church's Aaronic priesthood. The three members of the Presiding Bishopric act as "general authorities" of the church, oversee the temporal affairs (buildings, properties, commercial corporations, etc.) of the church and oversee the bishoprics of wards (congregations) throughout the world.
Along with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Presiding Bishopric is a part of the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes, a quorum which oversees and authorizes the expenditure of all tithing funds. The Presiding Bishopric is also responsible for overseeing the Aaronic priesthood of the church, although most of the work in this area is delegated to the general presidency of the Young Men Organization.
Community of Christ
The Presiding Bishopric of the Community of Christ, the second largest denomination, are the chief financial officers and trustees of the church. As such, they are trustees in trust for all church property, including local congregational facilities. They are responsible for the administration of the temporal affairs of the whole church. They lead the Order of Bishops in providing support and mentoring to the financial officers of congregations and mission centers. The Presiding Bishopric serves also as the presidency of the Aaronic priesthood and leads the Order of Bishops in providing support, training, and advocacy in empowering the Aaronic Ministers. They direct the stewardship education efforts of the church and lead financial development efforts with major donors. The Presiding Bishopric is a part of the World Church Leadership Council, along with the First Presidency and Council of Twelve Apostles. They also serve as members of the World Church Finance Board, which proposes budgets to the World Conference for approval.
The current Presiding Bishop of the church is Steven M. Jones and the Counselors are R. Paul Davis and David J. Brown.
Church of God in Christ
- Presiding Bishop at the website of the Episcopal Church in the USA