Bishop Harris

The Rt. Rev’d Gayle E. Harris joined the Diocese of Virginia as Assistant Bishop in 2023. She was previously Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Bishop Harris obtained her Master of Divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. She was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 in the Diocese of Newark (New Jersey), where she served as Assistant to the Vicar at Grace Church (Van Vorst) in Jersey City. She then moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as Diocesan Urban Resident at St. Philip the Evangelist Church from 1982 to 1984. She was priest-in-charge of Holy Communion Church from 1984 to 1992, also serving at that time as Nave Clergy at Washington National Cathedral.

While in the Diocese of Washington, Bishop Harris served on a range of diocesan leadership committees, including: the Standing Committee (President); the Nominating Committee for Bishop Suffragan; the Search Committee for Dean of Washington National Cathedral; and the diocesan Committee on Budget and Finance. She also served two terms on both The Episcopal Church Committee on Church Structure, and the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee.

In 1992, she was called as rector of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene Church in Rochester, New York, where she served until her June 1, 2002, election as Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts.

Prior to her election as Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts, she served the Diocese of Rochester as a Dean and was a member of the Commission on Ministry, the Worship and Liturgy Committee and Companion Diocese Task Force. She was twice elected as Deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (1997, 2000).

Bishop Harris completed service in 2006 as a member of the Joint Nominating Committee for the election of the former Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. She is a past Vice Chair of the Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees.

Bishop Harris formerly chaired the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Development Committee, is currently the Convener of the Episcopal Bishops of African Descent, and is on The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Theology of Money. Bishop Harris is a member of the House of Bishops’ Planning Committee and of the Standing Committee on Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations of the Church. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Church Investment Group.

Bishop Harris received an honorary Doctor of Humanity degree from the New England School of Law and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.