Mary Adelia McLeod

Mary Adelia Rosamond McLeod (born September 27, 1938) was the first woman Diocesan Bishop in the Episcopal Church. She was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont on June 5, 1993 at a Special Convention held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington. Clergy and Lay Delegates selected her from among five nominees.

The Right Reverend

Mary Adelia Rosamond McLeod

L.H.D., D.D.
Bishop of Vermont
Bishop McLeod Blesses People at her Consecration.jpg
Blessing the People at her Consecration in 1993. Her son, the Rev. Harrison McLeod, is at her side
ChurchEpiscopal Church
ElectedJune 5, 1993
In office1993-2001
PredecessorDaniel L. Swenson
SuccessorThomas C. Ely
OrdinationDecember 1980
by Bill Stough
ConsecrationNovember 1, 1993
by Edmond L. Browning
Personal details
Born (1938-09-27) September 27, 1938 (age 82)
Birmingham, Alabama, United States
SpouseHenry Marvin McLeod (m. Nov 25, 1970)
Previous postArchdeacon for southern West Virginia (1983-1993)
Alma materUniversity of Alabama


McLeod was consecrated as the Ninth Bishop of Vermont[1] on All Saints Day, November 1, 1993, at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington Vermont. The Principal Consecrator was Edmond L. Browning, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church at that time. Michael Geoffrey Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and 28 Episcopal and Anglican Bishops participated in the historic service. A capacity crowd attended the event, which was televised nationwide by satellite.[2]

The service included a hymn commissioned for the occasion, “God, beyond all human praises.”[3] The music was composed by Richard Wayne Dirksen, words by Charles P. Price.


Mary Adelia Rosamond McLeod was born (1938-09-27) September 27, 1938 (age 82) in Birmingham Alabama. Following high school, she attended the University of Alabama where she majored in History and was a member of Kappa Delta sorority.

Following college, she married and raised five children. During this period, she was a member and Officer of the Junior League of Birmingham Alabama and a community volunteer. She was an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook Alabama. At age 39, she entered seminary.

McLeod received an L.Th. degree from The School of Theology, University of the South (Sewanee) in 1980. She ranked second in her class.

She was ordained a deacon in June 1980 and ordained a priest in December of that same year. After ordination, she was Co-Rector of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Athens Alabama from 1980-1983 and Co-Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Charleston, West Virginia from 1983-1993. She also served as Archdeacon for southern West Virginia.

Bishop McLeod holds honorary degrees from Smith College (L.H.D.), Episcopal Divinity School (D.D.), and the University of Charleston (D.D.).

Accomplishments as BishopEdit

The Rt. Rev. Mary Adelia Rosamond McLeod served as Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont from 1993 until 2001 when she retired.

Accomplishments during her Episcopacy include:

  • The Diocese of Vermont grew by 49.5% in number of Communicants and was the third fastest growing Diocese in the Episcopal Church during the decade that included her tenure.[4]
  • Through her emphasis on Stewardship Education, the Average Pledge increased significantly.
  • She restructured the Diocesan Office, Council, Committees, and other Diocesan organizations and systems, resulting in more efficiency and accountability.
  • She fostered innovative programs for small Congregations, including regional ministry and mutual ministry where lay people performed some functions traditionally done by clergy.
  • After inheriting major financial problems, she instituted balanced budgets, regular audits, and other sound and transparent financial practices.
  • She led a successful Capital Campaign creating an Endowment for Congregation Programs, outreach, and capital improvements.[5]
  • Created a safe, open environment in the diocese for discussion of difficult and possibly contentious issues.

On her retirement, one Vermont Episcopalian described Bishop McLeod as “Firm, Friendly, Focused, Fiscal, Funny, and of course Feminine.”

Ministries in the National ChurchEdit

Her national Episcopal Church ministries included; Secretary of the House of Bishops, one of three Bishops appointed by the Presiding Bishop to respond to alleged Bishop misconduct, Board of Pastoral Development, Board of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus, Dialogue on Human Sexuality Committee, Board of Kanuga Conference Center, Board of Visitors for Episcopal Divinity School, Stewardship Consultation Committee, Vice-Chair of the Canons Committee, General Convention Planning Committee, Rules of Order Committee, Ad Hoc Committee to Study Insurance Issues, Judge, House of Bishops Trial Court, College for Bishops Committee, and Dispatch of Business Committee.

Commitment to Rights of LGBT PersonsEdit

Bishop McLeod is a long-time supporter of full inclusion and rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons both in the church and in society. When the Vermont General Assembly debated proposed legislation to extend marriage benefits to gay and lesbian couples, she testified before the House Judiciary Committee urging approval of the Bill.[6] "Such action will serve to strengthen [the state's] social fabric and is not a threat to traditional marriage", she said to the Committee.[7]

She enunciated her views on LGBT rights in a Pastoral Letter titled, “Let the Church Be the First to Issue an Emancipation Proclamation.”[8] In it, she stated, “Heterosexual and homosexual people are equally capable of entering into life-long unions of love, mutual support and fidelity.” Further, “God's great gift of love and the expression of that love cannot and should not be denied to those among us who happen to be homosexual.” She requested the letter be read in every Episcopal Church in Vermont.


Her published writings include a major piece in A Voice of Our Own: Leading American Women Celebrate the Right to Vote[9] and a poem, “Granny’s Treasure,” in Women’s Uncommon Prayers: Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated.[10]

She is married to the Rev. Henry M. McLeod III and has five children and eight grandchildren.


  1. ^ Daley, Yvonne (November 2, 1993). "Vt. Episcopalians celebrate new bishop". The Boston Globe.
  2. ^ "Consecration Broadcast Live Nationwide via Satellite from the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington Vermont". Episcopal News Service. October 22, 1993. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  3. ^ Episcopal Church (1997). Wonder, Love, and Praise: a supplement to the Hymnal 1982. Church Publishing, Inc. pp. 745. ISBN 978-0-89869-226-6.
  4. ^ Crew, Louie. "Episcopal Church Growth 1991-2001". Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  5. ^ Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. "J. Warren and Lois McClure Discipleship Discovery 2000 Fund". Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Church leaders in Vermont divided over gay marriages". Episcopal News Service. February 28, 2000.
  7. ^ McLeod, Mary Adelia Rosamond (March 2000). "Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee February 2, 2000" (PDF). Intimate Relationships, p. 13. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  8. ^ McLeod, Mary Adelia Rosamond (February 2000). "Let the Church be the first to issue an Emancipation Proclamation" (PDF). Intimate Relationships, p. 11.
  9. ^ Neuman, Nancy M. (1996). A Voice of Our Own: Leading American Women Celebrate the Right to Vote. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 74–85. ISBN 978-0-470-63087-7.
  10. ^ Smith, Ann; Geitz, Elizabeth Rankin; Burke, Marjorie A. (2000). Women's Uncommon Prayers: Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated. Morehouse Publishing, Inc. p. 151. ISBN 0819218642.