[Diocese of Western Kansas] Episcopalians and invited guests from across Kansas and the United States gathered Dec. 1 at Christ Cathedral in Salina to welcome and celebrate the ordination and consecration of the Diocese of Western Kansas’ sixth bishop. The Rt. Rev. Mark A. Cowell succeeds the Rt. Rev. Michael Milliken, who served the diocese for nearly seven years.
Elected on May 5, Bishop Cowell will lead Episcopalians in a largely rural diocese covering the western counties of Kansas. Like many clergy within the diocese as well as his predecessor, Cowell will be a bi-vocational bishop. A lawyer who once prosecuted gang members in Dodge City, the new bishop will continue to serve as vicar of Sts. Mary and Martha of Bethany in Larned and of Holy Nativity in Kinsley. He also works part-time as Dodge City’s municipal prosecutor and is currently in his second term as Hodgeman County attorney.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, led the ceremony as chief consecrator.
Assisting the presiding bishop as co-consecrators were Milliken, fifth bishop of Western Kansas; the Rt. Rev. James Adams, fourth bishop of Western Kansas, and the Rt. Rev. Martin Fields, bishop of Western Missouri. The Very Rev. David Hodges, dean of Christ Cathedral, served as master of ceremonies.
A reception to meet and greet Cowell and Curry was held at the Salina Country Club following the ceremony.
Cowell was raised in the Episcopal Church and fell in love with Anglican liturgy while living in England as a child. After returning to the United States, he served as an acolyte at St. Peter’s Church in Essex Fells, New Jersey, until he left home for college.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University in 1990, and his Juris Doctorate from Washburn University Law School in 1994. Shortly after admission to the Kansas Bar in 1994, he felt the call to ministry. Trained locally, he was ordained a transitional deacon in October 2003 and a priest in June 2004.
Cowell, his wife, Julie, and their three children, Gabriel, Cathleen and Gryffin, live in Larned.