John Bryson Chane

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John Bryson Chane
Bishop of Washington
Chane in the Iranian city of Qom during his meeting with Naser Makarem Shirazi, 10 October 2007
ChurchEpiscopal Church
ElectedJanuary 26, 2002
In office2002–2011
PredecessorRonald H. Haines
SuccessorMariann Edgar Budde
OrdinationJune 24, 1972 (deacon)
January 6, 1973 (priest)
ConsecrationJune 1, 2002
by Frank Griswold
Personal details
Born (1944-05-13) May 13, 1944 (age 79)
SpouseKaren Chane

John Bryson Chane (born May 13, 1944[1]) is a retired bishop of the Episcopal Church. The eighth diocesan bishop of Washington, he was consecrated at Washington National Cathedral on June 1, 2002, leading the Episcopal Diocese of Washington until he retired in November 2011. During this time, he also served between June 2003 and April 2005 as interim dean of Washington National Cathedral. In his role as Bishop of Washington, Chane served as president and CEO of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, which oversees the operations of Washington National Cathedral and the three cathedral schools: St. Alban's School for Boys, the National Cathedral School for Girls, and Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School.[2]

Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of the 150 most influential leaders in the District of Columbia. The Sunday Telegraph in London called him one of the most prominent leaders in the Anglican Communion.[3]

A leader in global interfaith dialogue and study,[4][5][6][7] Chane traveled to Iran on numerous occasions as the invited guest of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. In late 2011, he was part of a four-person delegation that traveled to Tehran, and was instrumental in freeing the American hikers[8] held in Evin Prison.[9] He is one of the few from the West who has ever met with the current Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameni.[10]

Chane has participated as a presenter at conferences in Oslo [11] and Tehran sponsored by the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, the Club de Madrid, and Le Dialogue des Civilizations, focusing on religion, politics and terrorism, religion and politics and gender equality.[12] He continues to work with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., as a planner and presenter at the annual U.S. Islamic World Forum, held in Doha, Qatar.

He has spoken on numerous occasions at the Industrial College of The Armed Forces in Washington D.C., the U.S. Secretary of State's Open Forum and as the Anglican principal at the semi-annual Christian-Muslim Summit sponsored by Washington National Cathedral.[13] A respected speaker and charismatic preacher, he has been invited on several occasions by the Chautauqua Institution of New York to serve as Preacher in Residence.

Chane has been the recipient of various awards, including D.C.'s Interfaith Bridge Builders Award, the George Washington University President's Medal, the Berea College Founder's Medal, Search for Common Ground's Award for Global Peace and Reconciliation, the Rumi Forum's Global Peace Award and the Yale Divinity School's Lux et Veritas Award. He was a contributing author to Iraq Uncensored, an initiative of the bipartisan American Security Project,[14]

On January 30, 2010, Chane announced his intention to retire as Episcopal Bishop of Washington, stepping down from that role in 2011.[15] The ninth bishop, Mariann Edgar Budde, was consecrated and installed at Washington National Cathedral on November 12, 2011.[16]

Life and career[edit]

A Boston native, Chane served as dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego and also served congregations in Southborough, Massachusetts, Erie, Pennsylvania and Montvale, New Jersey. He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston University and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. He has received honorary doctorates from Virginia Theological Seminary, Episcopal Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University.

Chane and his wife, Karen, have two sons, Chris and Ian, and three grandchildren, Madeline, Althea and Ashton. He served as team chaplain for Team USA Hockey during the 1980 Olympics. He plays the drums in a band called The Chane Gang.[17][18][19]

Position on issues of human sexuality[edit]

In August 2003, Chane was among those who voted to confirm the election of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest in a partnered relationship to serve as a bishop of the Episcopal Church. Robinson was consecrated as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in November of that year, and served in that position until 2013. The move, and related decisions concerning the ability of churches to sanction same-sex relationships, divided the Episcopal Church, with some opponents of these developments announcing their realignment with bishops outside the Episcopal Church USA.

In February 2006, Peter Akinola, at that time the Anglican primate of Nigeria, issued a communique on behalf of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, in which he stated: "The Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality."[20] In addition to criminalizing same-sex marriage, the bill in question also proposed to criminalize "registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations" and "publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise", on penalty of up to five years imprisonment.[21] The proposed legislation was formally challenged by the U.S. State Department as a possible breach of Nigeria's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[22]

Chane, writing in the Washington Post, said:

"The archbishop's support for this law violates numerous Anglican Communion documents that call for a "listening process" involving gay Christians and their leaders. But his contempt for international agreements also extends to Articles 18-20 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which articulates the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, association and assembly. Surprisingly, few voices -- Anglican or otherwise -- have been raised in opposition to the archbishop. When I compare this silence with the cacophony that followed the Episcopal Church's decision to consecrate the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, a gay man who lives openly with his partner, as the bishop of New Hampshire, I am compelled to ask whether the global Christian community has lost not only its backbone but its moral bearings."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Episcopal Clerical Directory 2013 (2013). New York: Church Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-89869-888-6, p. 175.
  2. ^ Biography of Bishop John Bryson Chane Archived 2009-03-13 at the Wayback Machine Episcopal Diocese of Washington
  3. ^ Boorstein, Michelle (January 31, 2010). "D.C.'s Episcopal bishop, known for liberal causes, to retire". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ "Interfaith Dialog |".
  5. ^ "Pushing Past Terror to Understanding".
  6. ^ "Fear, hatred, slaughter marks of heresy -- not God". CNN. 21 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Chane embraces 'radical' label while building interfaith bridges". 14 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Mission to Iran improves relations with dialogue". 20 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Episcopal News Service - NEWS". Archived from the original on 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  10. ^ "In Iran, Supreme Leader Wields True Power".
  11. ^[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "Bishop John Bryson Chane delivers speech on respecting diversity on behalf of the US delegation at the OSCE tolerance meeting in Astana - Council for Global Equality".
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-11-09. Retrieved 2018-11-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Just Released – Iraq Uncensored".
  15. ^ Bishop John Bryson Chane's Retirement announcement[permanent dead link] Episcopal Diocese of Washington
  16. ^ "Homepage".
  17. ^ Our Bishop Really Rocks
  18. ^ "Bishop Drums to the Blues in Off-Hours".
  19. ^ "Rockin' Rev leads benefit concert - Entertainment - the Inquirer and Mirror - Nantucket, MA". Archived from the original on 2018-11-10. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  20. ^ Message to the Nation, September 2006 Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria
  21. ^ A Bill For An Act To Make Provisions For The Prohibition Of Sexual Relationship Between Persons Of The Same Sex, Celebration Of Marriage By Them And For Other Matters Connected Therewith Be It Enacted By The National Assembly Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria As Follows Archived 2008-06-12 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Nigerian Legislation Threatens to Limit Rights of Sexual Minorities Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine Press Statement from the United States Department of State
  23. ^ A Gospel of Intolerance John Bryson Chane

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Succeeded by