Media Advisory: New Jersey diocese to elect new bishop on May 4th



Nine men and women of diverse ethnic backgrounds from seven dioceses of the Episcopal Church will stand for election at a special convention of the Diocese of New Jersey on Saturday, May 4th, 9 a.m. at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton. More than 600 clergy and lay deputies representing 150 churches will vote in the election. The nine nominees standing for election are:

  • The Reverend David Anderson, 56, rector of St. Luke’s Parish in Darien, CT;
  • The Reverend Dr. Joan Beilstein, 52, rector of Church of the Ascension in Silver Spring, MD;
  • The Very Reverend René John, 52, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Trenton, NJ;
  • The Reverend Canon Donald J. Muller, 60, Rector of St. Peter’s Church in Medford, NJ;
  • The Reverend Canon Dr. Francisco Pozo, 56, Vicar of Christ Church in Trenton, NJ;
  • The Reverend Dr. Allen F. Robinson, 43, rector of St. James’ Church in Baltimore, MD;
  • The Reverend Canon Melissa M. Skelton, 62, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Seattle, WA; and Canon for Congregational Development and Leadership of the Diocese of Olympia;
  • The Reverend Canon William Stokes, 56, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Delray Beach, FL;
  • The Reverend Martha Sylvia Ovalle Vásquez, 60, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Walnut Creek, CA.

The text of the Election Booklet, detailing biographical information for the nominees, is also available at

Video self-introductions by the nine nominees are available for viewing on a dedicated YouTube channel:

The ordination and consecration of the Twelfth Bishop of New Jersey is scheduled for November 2, 2013.

The twelfth bishop will succeed the Right Reverend George Edward Councell who has served as the diocese’s eleventh bishop since 2003.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Opening worship service with Bishop George Councell; beginning of proceedings and first ballot; announcement of election of the Twelfth Bishop, ringing of cathedral bells, and congregational singing of Te Deum, a traditional hymn of praise. No flash photography is allowed.

A Press Conference will follow the conclusion of the election. Trinity Cathedral is located at 801 W. State St., Trenton, NJ 08618.


About the election of bishops in the Episcopal Church: Bishops in the Episcopal Church are ordained in the historic apostolic succession by the laying on of hands by bishops themselves similarly consecrated in a succession going back by tradition to the apostles, who were witnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Candidates for bishop are nominated by processes involving laity and clergy of the diocese. Every church of the diocese is entitled to be represented in the voting by three lay deputies elected at annual meetings of the congregations. Clergy and lay deputies vote by separate orders, and a candidate for bishop must obtain a majority in both orders. Multiple ballots may be required to obtain a majority.

About the Diocese of New Jersey: The Diocese of New Jersey ranks sixth among dioceses in the number of churches and tenth in the number of members in the Episcopal Church. For more information click here.

About the Episcopal Church: The Episcopal Church consist of 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church traces its origins to the Church of England in the colonial era, and it is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. For more information click here.


The Reverend Gregory Bezilla

Chair, Transition Committee, Diocese of New Jersey

Office: 732.932.1278

Mobile: 609.240.1554

E-mail: [email protected]


For news and announcements about the episcopal election:

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