On the third ballot the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia has elected the the Very Rev. Mark Bourlakas, Dean of the Cathedral, Louisville, KY, to be their next bishop.
From his profile:
The landscape of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, is described as “beautiful and rugged.” Such is my journey that leads me to your blessed diocese. From my first reading of the profile, I felt called to be in the bishop search of your mission-centered diocese.
I spent my childhood in High Point, NC, while my wife Martha grew up in Morristown, TN. We met at the Episcopal University of the South in Sewanee, TN and married in 1989. With our one-year-old daughter Hannah securely in our Subaru, we moved to Chicago in 1994, where I attended Seabury-Western Seminary. While there, Hannah was diagnosed developmentally disabled and our second daughter Sarah was born.
I served as an assistant in TN and SC parishes, with membership as small as 150 and as large as 4000. With each parish’s range of theological and political beliefs, I quickly learned to be a mediating pastoral presence. In 2000, I was called to be rector of a medium-sized rural parish outside of Columbia, SC, where our third daughter, Elizabeth, was born.
In 2004, I became rector of St. Alban’s Church, a rapidly-growing suburban parish in Davidson, NC. I am currently Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the oldest house of worship in Louisville, Kentucky. In these six years, while stabilizing the finances and structure of our large diocesan campus, my focus has been reinvigorating the parish’s commitment to mission and evangelism.
In May 2012, I received my Doctoral Degree in Ministry from Sewanee, after publishing my thesis, Holding the Place of Christ: Leadership in the Divine Household. My work incorporates the teachings of Thomas Merton and supports my belief that leadership is more effectively shaped by relationship with others rather than posi- tion over others. A diocese the size of Southwestern Virginia can be a divine household in which leadership is interconnected and shared.
Since my time as an art major at Sewanee, I have continued to paint and exhibit my art. My painting provides me creative expression and the meditative prayer crucial for my spiritual health.
In sporadic escapes from ministry and parenting, Martha and I walk together, go out to dinner and to the mov- ies. If I am fortunate, my three daughters will still jump on the trampoline with me. I enjoy playing basketball, watching auto racing, and listening to all my albums which I have finally downloaded into an Ipod.