Why Rust Belt Episcopal?

The Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York are considering a shared future that includes the possibility of sharing a bishop for the next five years.

Bishops William Franklin of Western New York and Sean Rowe of Northwestern Pennsylvania have, along with the presidents of the respective standing committees, proposed that our dioceses spend the coming months convening discussions among leaders across our region about how we might create more opportunity for mission by working together. This process will culminate in October 2018, when our dioceses will hold a joint convention in Niagara Falls to consider our futures.

If our discussions in the next year are fruitful, as we hope they will be, we would anticipate that in October 2018, the Diocese of Western New York would elect Bishop Rowe as its bishop provisional for five years beginning in April 2019, when Bishop Franklin retires.

This website includes information, stories, reflections and resources about the proposed partnership for people in both dioceses. Questions? Browse the site, read our frequently asked questions, and email rustbeltepiscopal@gmail.com to learn more.

—Partnership Exploration Steering Committee

Bishop Bill Franklin, Diocese of Western New York
Bishop Sean Rowe, Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania
Jim Isaac, president, Standing Committee of the Diocese of Western New York
Jack Malovich, president, Standing Committee of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania
The Rev. Adam Trambley, secretary, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania
The Rev. Canon Cathy Dempsey-Sims, canon for connections, Diocese of Western New York
The Rev. Vicki Zust, bishop’s assistant for ministry development and public relations, Diocese of Western New York
Vanessa Butler, canon for administration, Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania