The Rt. Reverend Mark A. Cowell
Bishop Cowell was raised in the Episcopal Church, and fell in love with the Anglican Eucharist when living in England as a child. He and some of his classmates, at their parochial school, were allowed to serve as acolytes on the greater feast days. Bishop Cowell was deeply and profoundly moved by the ritual and liturgy. After returning to the United States, Bishop Cowell continued to serve as an acolyte at St. Peter’s Church, Essex Fells, New Jersey, until he left for college.
Bishop Cowell began his education at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1990. While an upper classman studying at Drew, Bishop Cowell enrolled in seminary classes but chose the study of law over seminary.
Bishop Cowell enrolled in Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. He earned his juris doctorate degree in 1994, and graduated with honors. He was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1994. He was soon recruited to prosecute gangs in Dodge City, and he moved to Dodge City in 1995. After gang members shot out his car windows, he moved his family to Larned in 1996. He has lived there ever since, and commuted back and forth to Dodge City.
After law school, the Bishop still knew that God was calling him, but he was faced with a problem. He had incurred his fair share of student loan debt, and there was no means to go to seminary. In 1997, Bishop Cowell sought out Bishop Strickland and finally acknowledged that he wanted to be a priest. Bishop Strickland offered Mark a solution. Father Tom Keith, who was both a priest and a college professor, was putting together a class called Education for Vocation. The class was designed to incubate budding students who were discerning their calls to ordination. The Bishop agreed to study with Father Keith.
After two years of classes with Father Keith, the Bishop was approved as a postulant. He began serving the Central Region in the diocese, preaching weekly in rotation at Sts. Mary and Martha in Larned, and at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Great Bend. After several additional years of study, The Bishop was ordained as a transitional deacon in October 2003. He was ordained as a priest in June 2004. Bishop Cowell continued to serve the Central Region until its dissolution. He continues to serve Sts. Mary and Martha, Larned today as well as Holy Nativity in Kinsley.
Bishop Cowell began his service to the Diocese of Western Kansas before his ordination. He was Senior Warden at Sts. Mary and Martha, elected to Diocesan Council, served as the Diocesan Youth Coordinator, and served as the adult representative to the Provincial Youth Network for Province VII while a member of the laity. Since his ordination to the priesthood, The Bishop has served on Diocesan Council, the Commission on Ministry, and numerous times on Standing Committee, including serving eighteen months as president of the Standing Committee in the absence of a bishop after Bishop James Adams resigned.
During that time period, Bishop Cowell oversaw the election of the next bishop, Bishop Michael Milliken. Before that election, he met with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori in New York to discuss and consult on the idea of a dual role Episcopacy. This is the model our diocese has pursued, and this was the role to which Bishop Milliken was elected.
Mark is married to Julie, who is the District Magistrate Judge in Larned, and they have 3 children, Gabriel, Cathleen and Gryffin. Bishop Cowell is active with the youth at Sts. Mary and Martha and in the Diocese. He has taken the youth, on four separate Lenten Pilgrimages to Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, UK. The youth group at Grace Church, Hutchinson, joined them in 2012. Since 2015, The Bishop has taken the youth group of St. Cornelius as well.
Bishop Cowell was elected as the the new Bishop elect in May of 2018 and Consecrated by The Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, on December 1, 2018 at Christ Cathedral in Salina.
Bishop Cowell is in a dual role position as Bishop. He serves his churches and continues to work part time as the City of Dodge City Municipal Prosecutor. He is also the Hodgeman County Attorney, and was just re-elected to his second term.