Welcome to the Diocese of El Camino Real and thank you for your interest in becoming our next bishop. We are excited about the next chapter in our ministry as a diocese and look forward to getting to know you better. You will find that we are a diocese that covers many contexts of ministry. From Silicon Valley to the wine country of Paso Robles to the Oceano Dunes, we seek to be a dynamic Gospel presence in a rapidly changing world. We hope you will join us.
The diocese is excited about our future. Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves has led us to a place of remarkable health. We are tremendously grateful for her leadership and example of living out the faith in an authentic and genuine way. As a diocese, we are honest about our challenges and hungry to learn new ways to address them. Resources have been committed to fund a newly arrived staff position that seeks to make new connections and create new ways of being church.
We are also a diocese that continues to widen the circle and seeks to make sure that all feel they have a place at the table. Our conferences have helped us to stretch our awareness and capacity to welcome one another with greater authenticity. Where conflicts arise in the natural life of a congregation, we are learning how to grow through them. We look to the horizon and how we can be further formed together by the Spirit to bring people to know the Good News of God’s love.
We believe we play an important role in the wider community by seeking wisdom with others in the midst of innovation, providing services with dignity to the unhoused, serving the incarcerated, implementing our diocesan camp program, serving the needs of our community through Santa Maria Urban Ministry, and learning with our students on college campuses and through our Episcopal schools. We are the Diocese of El Camino Real.
As you pray about this opportunity, we invite you to get to know us as we seek to know you. May God richly bless us as we bear new fruit from our ministry together.
Today, the oldest parish in the diocese is Trinity Cathedral located in downtown San Jose, where diaconal ordinations take place. The cathedral has both Anglo and Latino congregations. The Diocese of El Camino Real covers an area of great geographical diversity: urban to suburban to rural, and ocean to mountains, tech industry to agricultural fields. The diocese is some 200 miles in length, spanning the central coast of California, broken into three deaneries: Santa Clara Valley, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. Diversity and inclusion, tradition and change are hallmarks of the cultures and people of our diocese. Please watch the Journey Our Diocese video below to explore the landscape of the diocese.
The Diocese of El Camino Real is built upon the land of the indigenous people. Native Californians of the central California coast include the Ohlone, Esselen, Salinan and Chumash. There has been an Episcopal presence here since the mid 1850s. The youngest diocese in California was formed in 1980 by formal separation from the Diocese of California. The Episcopal Church’s September 1979 General Convention in Denver granted approval to form the Diocese of El Camino Real. July 1, 1980 marked the first formal gathering of this new diocese at the Primary Convention. Please click on the brown pamphlet on the left for context on the creation of the vision of our diocese.
This new diocese was known for its creativity and commitment to being a fully connected community. Since the tenures of both the first two bishops of El Camino Real ended in conflict, prior to calling the third bishop the diocese paused to consider changes that needed to be made structurally and culturally to prevent the pattern repeating.
After two years of careful work, rebuilding collegiality, trust and a more robust diocesan structure, Mary Gray-Reeves was called as our third bishop. She continued the work that had already been started. During her ministry, we continued to streamline, successfully merging several parishes, and developing a learning community of collegiality and transparency among diocesan leadership as well as a culture of experimentation among our congregations.
The early diocesan Purpose and Priorities referenced developing “emerging church forms [which] can be contained only in new and flexible wine skins.” That search for new forms continues as the diocese has challenged itself to live into the future that we are becoming, most recently creating a Commission for Evangelism and Reconciliation and hiring a Curator for Emerging Communities, a newly created role.
At your fingertips are resources found within each of the five counties that comprise the Diocese of El Camino Real. Please click on each county icon below for more information.