The Right Reverend Eugene Taylor Sutton has been Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland since June, 2008. Previously he served as Canon Pastor of Washington National Cathedral and Director of the Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage.
Bishop Sutton was born and raised in Washington, DC, and graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. In 1981, he received his M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary, where he was awarded the Pietenpol Honors for Senior Excellence, and was ordained in the Reformed Church in America. After serving as pastor of an inner-city congregation for five years, he entered graduate studies at Princeton Theological Seminary where he completed all but dissertation in the Ph.D. program in 1992.
While teaching homiletics and liturgics for several years at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, TN, he became a member of the Episcopal Church and did his Anglican studies at Sewanee: The University of the South, School of Theology in 1993. In 1995-96, he served as Assistant to the Bishop and Chaplain of the Diocese of New Jersey, while also serving as adjunct professor of preaching at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. He has served as vicar of St. Michael’s Church in Trenton, NJ, priest-in-charge of St. Margaret’s and St. Mary’s parishes in Washington, DC, and associate rector for mission and spirituality at St. Columba’s Church in Washington, DC.
Throughout his ministry in parishes and academia, Bishop Sutton has been a frequent leader of retreats and conferences throughout the nation on prayer, spirituality and preaching. While in the nation’s capital, he founded Contemplative Outreach of Metropolitan Washington (COMW), an ecumenical network of churches and individuals committed to centering prayer and renewing the contemplative dimension of the gospel for daily living. In addition to having published several articles on prayer, spirituality and homiletics, he is one of the contributors to the book The Diversity of Centering Prayer.
He is married to Sonya Subbayya Sutton, the director of music at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, and together they have four young adult children and stepchildren.
On the Supreme Court Decisions Regarding Marriage Equality
June 26, 2013
I am relieved and gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has reached the decision to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. The two decisions recognize that marriage equality is an issue of public justice in a democratic society. It is also a religious issue, and in Episcopal churches we make baptismal vows that commit us to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. Today’s decisions are in keeping with my policy of allowing Episcopal clergy to conduct and bless these marriages in Maryland. You can review my past statements and policy online by following this link.
Political Voices and Gospel Values
A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton on Important Issues on the Ballot in Maryland for the November 6 Elections for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
October 15, 2012
The following pastoral letter to the clergy and laity of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland addresses Bishop Sutton’s views on three important issues on the November 6 ballot. In his view these issues demand our attention as Christian citizens, not just as voters. The following is a summary of Bishop Sutton’s statement. To read the statement, Political Voices and Gospel Values, in its entirety, please follow this link.
In 2008 our Diocesan Convention overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing a gambling initiative in that election. Currently, television ads on the Question 7 referendum tell us that jobs and more money for public education will happen if you vote ‘yes.’ But I ask, at what cost? What will be the effect of more gambling on our poor and desperate brothers and sisters seeking to solve their financial problems by "hitting the jackpot?" And do we really want our children's educations to be funded by means that we know will cause so much hardship to so many families? The purported ends will not justify the costly means if this initiative is passed.
The Maryland Dream Act
Maryland’s Dream Act is designed to level the playing field and broaden opportunities for children who are already contributing to our society. It has the strictest qualification standards in the country. Those who benefit must have completed three years in one of our high schools. They or their parents must have been paying taxes. They must first attend a community college before admittance into a state university, and such admittance will not count against the number reserved to all Maryland residents. Scholarship assistance is denied outright. There are also benefits that can come to us with a more highly educated work force. What would Jesus say to us about the children in our midst - especially those innocently brought here not of their own doing? Well, what did he do in the New Testament? He held a little child in his arms, and said, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." (Mark 9:37)
Through the marriage equality legislation, our elected representatives seek to correct past injustices by extending the legal benefits of marriage to all citizens no matter their sexual orientation. This goes to the core of what it means to live in a democratic society, and it is an issue of basic fairness. There are theological and ethical differences about the mystery and gift of human sexuality, to be sure, but for me the bottom line is "to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8) Will we do what the Lord requires of us on behalf of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents? The Episcopal Church has led the way to having a more compassionate, loving, graceful (and, we believe, "gospel-mandated") stance toward all people - including those who find that they are oriented to the same gender. The Diocese of Maryland believes that such a compassionate, socially responsible, and spiritually relevant Christianity is the way forward in a culture that is increasingly dismissive of organized religion...that may be one of the reasons that our diocese grew in membership last year.