Kathryn “Kai” Ryan Elected Suffragan Bishop of Texas


The Rev. Canon Kathryn “Kai” Ryan, Seminary of the Southwest alumna and current seminary trustee, was elected suffragan bishop for the western region of the Diocese of Texas on February 22.

At the 170th Diocese of Texas Council in The Woodlands, Texas, Canon Ryan was elected on the first ballot by a majority in both the lay and clergy orders, receiving 283 of the 441 lay votes cast and 137 of the 235 clergy votes. Canon Ryan currently serves as canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Texas, acting as chief operating officer and oversees diocesan ministry staff to fulfill the mission of the diocese. In her new position, she will succeed retiring suffragan bishop the Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, 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. Kai is a longstanding friend of the Seminary as student, alumna, and board member,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest, pictured above with Canon Ryan. “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.”

The two other candidates for suffragan bishop were the Rev. Hannah E. Atkins Romero, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas, and the Rev. Canon Glenice Robinson-Como, canon missioner for outreach and justice ministries at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Texas.

“I am so grateful to the search committee and the transition committee and all who have worked on this process over the past year,” Ryan said, according to a Diocese of Texas press release. “This has been a really long year and the fact that we got through it has been a result of walking together. I especially want to thank Hannah, Glenice and their families. I trust that God and you will teach me how to be the bishop that God and you need.”

As suffragan bishop, Canon Ryan will serve at the direction of Bishop of Texas C. Andrew “Andy” Doyle and have oversight of the western region of Texas’ congregations, which includes 21 counties in Central Texas, with an office in Austin on the campus of Seminary of the Southwest.

In a video interview on the Diocese of Texas website, Canon 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.”

Canon Ryan is a native of Raton, New Mexico. She graduated from University of the South, Sewanee, 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 for young clergy, and leading the culturally diverse Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Dallas, as rector for nearly 15 years.

Canon Ryan will be seated and consecrated as bishop suffragan on June 1, 2019, in Austin.