The Rt. Rev. Kathryn “Kai” McCrossen Ryan, Seminary of the Southwest alumna and current seminary trustee, was ordained and consecrated as 11th bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Texas on June 1, 2019, at a festive Eucharist service at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, served as the chief consecrator. He was joined in ordaining Ryan by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop diocesan of Texas, Bishops Suffragan Jeff W. Fisher and Dena A. Harrison – in whose office Ryan succeeds – Bishop Assistant Hector F. Monterroso, and other bishops from across the church.
In his sermon, Doyle identified inspiration in the Song of Mary from Luke 1, the day’s gospel passage for the Feast of the Visitation. “Kai, you are meant to sing to those who are far off and those who are near, to those who have found their way within God’s garden walls and those who do not yet know the gospel,” Doyle said in his sermon, to a congregation of hundreds, including clergy and lay people from across the diocese and church. “All people need to be reminded of God’s song.”
Ryan, formerly canon to the ordinary of the diocese, was elected bishop suffragan at the 170th Diocese of Texas Council in The Woodlands, Texas, on February 22, 2019. She received a majority of both clergy and lay votes on the first ballot. In her new position, she steps into the shoes of Harrison, retiring bishop suffragan, who is also a Southwest alumna and is former chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees.
“We are overjoyed that Kai Ryan will be the bishop suffragan of Texas,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest. “Kai is a longstanding friend of the seminary as student, alumna, and board member. She brings knowledge of our history and a shared vision of our future, and we look forward to welcoming her to Austin and to her office at the Diocesan Center here on our campus.”
As bishop suffragan, Ryan serves at the direction of Bishop Doyle and has oversight of the western region of the diocese’s congregations – which includes 21 counties in Central Texas – with an office in Austin on the campus of Seminary of the Southwest. She will travel throughout the region for episcopal visitations and confirmations and serve as chair of the Austin-area diocesan institutions: St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, El Buen Samaritano, and Seminary of the Southwest.
Ryan is a native of Raton, New Mexico. She graduated from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, and earned her Master of Divinity from Seminary of the Southwest in 1992. Her experience includes serving in four dioceses, including at All Saints Church, Austin, and in Mobile, Alabama; working on Provincial Synod and General Convention; participating in the national Gathering of Leaders network for young clergy; and leading the culturally diverse Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Dallas, as rector for nearly 15 years.
In a video interview on the Diocese of Texas website, Ryan says she’s looking forward to spending time with the 80-plus Episcopal communities in the western region: “I want to know where their favorite coffee shops are, and where they like to walk in their communities — and about what breaks their hearts.”
Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Texas.