Episcopal Diocese of Kansas ordains former WSU campus ministry director bishop



The Reverend Cathleen Chittenden Bascom was ordained as the 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka on Saturday, March 2. Bascom was consecrated by The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

A former Wichita State campus ministry director is the new Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas.

The Reverend Cathleen Chittenden Bascom was ordained and consecrated as the Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas March 2 at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka.

Reverend Michael B. Curry — presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church — acted as chief consecrator at Saturday’s ceremony. Curry is best known for preaching at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Bascom is the first woman to be elected bishop of Kansas since the diocese was formed in 1859. It was also the first time in the history of the Episcopal Church that a diocesan bishop was elected from a pool of all female candidates. Bascom was the first woman to go through the process of ordination to the priesthood in Kansas in the 1980s.

Originally from Denver, Bascom has family ties to Kansas. She has lived and worked in the state twice before — first as a student and then as clergy, serving in Manhattan and Topeka.

As a young priest, she was in charge of campus ministries in the Diocese. Wichita State did not have much of a campus ministry program at the time. Bascom and WSU alumnus, The Rev. Gar Demo, worked to change that in the early 1990s.

From 1993 to 2001, Bascom lead campus ministry efforts at Kansas State University in Manhattan, and oversaw the program at WSU.

Since the fall of 2014 Bascom has worked as Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa. She previously acted as dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines, Iowa, as well as rector of St. Stephen’s in Newton, Iowa.