The Diocese of Tennessee, originally encompassing the entire state and now comprising the Middle Tennessee region, was organized and held its first Convention in Nashville in 1829. Its first bishop, James Hervey Otey, was consecrated in 1833. Early parishes were St. Paul’s, Franklin; Christ Church, Nashville; St. Peter’s, Columbia; and Trinity Church, Clarkesville. The Diocese of West Tennessee, with its seat in Memphis, was created in 1982, and the Diocese of East Tennessee, with its seat in Knoxville, was created in 1985: part of a vision for the further development of the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church along the lines of the three “Grand Divisions” or regions of the state.
Today the Diocese includes over 16,000 baptized members in 45 cathedral, parish, mission and chaplaincy churches, as well as two mission stations and other affiliated ministries. Christ Church, Nashville, was designated the cathedral of the Diocese in 1997. The Rt. Rev’d John Crawford Bauerschmidt was consecrated the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Tennessee on January 27th, 2007. The Diocese includes urban, suburban, and rural congregations. The University of the South, Sewanee, is located within the boundaries of the diocese. Admitted into union with the General Convention in 1829, the Diocese of Tennessee is part of the Episcopal Church, a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion.