The Right Reverend Peter Eaton has been the Bishop of Southeast Florida since 9 January 2016.
Bishop Eaton was elected the Bishop Coadjutor of Southeast Florida on 31 January 2015 at a special convention of the Diocese at Trinity Cathedral, Miami. He was ordained to the episcopate on 9 May 2015, and he became the Bishop of Southeast Florida on the retirement of the Right Reverend Leo Frade on 9 January 2016. Bishop Eaton was seated as the diocesan bishop at a special liturgy at Trinity Cathedral, Miami, on 30 January 2016. Lord Williams of Oystermouth, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, was the preacher.
At his episcopal ordination, over 40 co-consecrating bishops were in attendance. In addition to bishops of The Episcopal Church, there were bishops from the wider Anglican Communion, including the current and former Primates of the West Indies. The preacher was the Bishop of Ely in the Church of England. Among the principal co-consecrators were Bishop Hans Gerny, the retired Bishop of the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland (The Old Catholic Union of Utrecht); Mar Theodosius, the Bishop of the North America-Europe Diocese of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar; Bishop Robert Schaefer, Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Bishop Graham Rights, a Bishop of the Moravian Church in America. Bishop Eaton is the first bishop in the history of The Episcopal Church to have among his principal co-consecrators the bishops of these full communion partners from both Western and Eastern successions.
Among the local and international ecumenical and inter-religious guests at the ordination were official representatives of His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch; His Beatitude Theophilos III, the Patriarch of Jerusalem; and His Beatitude Nourhan Manoogian, the Armenian Patriarch in Jerusalem. The Archbishop of Miami and the Bishop of Palm Beach sent representatives, and Dr. Marcie Lenk represented the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where Bishop Eaton was a fellow in 2008-2009. Dr. Abdul Hamid Samra, the Imam of the Islamic Center of Greater Miami represented the Muslim community.
Bishop Eaton was born on 28 August 1958 in Washington DC. A life-long Anglican, he is the son, grandson, and nephew of priests, and he has lived and served in three Provinces of the Anglican Communion. His father was the late Reverend Dr. Wade Eaton, who taught at Codrington College, Barbados, and the Seminario Episcopal and the Seminario Evangélico in Puerto Rico. His grandfather was the late Senator Wayne Morse, who represented Oregon in the US Senate from 1944 to 1969, and his uncle was the late Right Reverend Francisco Reus-Froylán, the first native-born bishop of Puerto Rico. Raised in New England, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and London, he read Classics at King’s College, London; Theology at Queens’ College, Cambridge; and was trained for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge. Between university and theological college, he served for a year as the Pastoral Assistant at Saint George’s Anglican Church in Paris (France). He has twice been a Fellow-in-Residence at the School of Theology, Sewanee (1995 and 2014).
Bishop Eaton was ordained to the diaconate on the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, 29 June 1986, by his uncle, Bishop Reus, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Santurce, Puerto Rico, by Letters Dimissory from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was ordained to the priesthood on the same feast in 1987 by the late Archbishop Robert Runcie in Canterbury Cathedral.
Bishop Eaton served as the Assistant Curate of the Parish of All Saints, Maidstone, Kent, UK, from 1986 to 1989; the Fellows’ Chaplain of Magdalen College, Oxford, UK, from 1989 to 1991, where he also did graduate research in early Christian history and literature; the Associate Rector of Saint Paul’s, Salt Lake City, Utah, from 1991 to 1995, where he was also Canon Theologian to the Bishop of Utah from 1991 to 2001; the Rector of Saint James, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1995 to 2001; and the Dean of Saint John’s Cathedral, Denver, Colorado, from 2002 to 2015. In Denver he was also an adjunct faculty member of Iliff School of Theology from 1995 to 2015, where he taught Anglican theology and liturgy.
In 2004 he and Kate Gleason were married at Saint John’s Cathedral. A fourth-generation Coloradoan and life-long Episcopalian, Kate is a resource development professional, and has worked for many organizations, including the University of Denver, Habitat for Humanity, and Mercy Housing. She was part of the development team of the Wilderness in 2007, one of the most innovative and longest-lived new worshipping communities in the Church, and in 2010 she founded Mishkhah, an organization that seeks “to reveal the mystery of Christ by stirring the senses and opening the heart.” She has helped a number of congregations across the Church develop new communities, and most recently has helped to found the community RUAH, that worships at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach.
Throughout his priestly ministry, Bishop Eaton has been primarily a pastor and teacher, and is deeply committed to the strength and vitality of congregations and their leaders. He seeks to broaden the Church’s visible presence in the wider community wherever he lives and works. He has also been involved in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, both in the United States and abroad, and from 1999 to 2015 he was a member of the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Inter-religious Relations of The Episcopal Church.
Bishop Eaton also has a long-standing interest in education, and is committed to the support, development, and expansion of the work of the schools and of education in the Diocese. He is also seeking to strengthen the relationship of the Diocese to the University of the South, of which Southeast Florida is an “owning” diocese. Because of this relationship he considers that the Diocese to have a unique role in education from a child’s earliest years through graduate school.
Since becoming a bishop, Bishop Eaton priority has been the diocese. He has first of all given himself to get to know, and be known by, this diverse community. In the first years of his ministry as the diocesan bishop, he has tried to reform the ministry of the Bishop and the Bishop’s Staff along pastoral lines, while working to increase the integrity and efficiency of administrative processes. He places a high priority on the pastoral care of clergy and their families as well as of the lay leadership of the Diocese.
Committed to the intellectual and spiritual formation of Christians and of leaders for the Church, Bishop Eaton has re-shaped the diocesan convention to be primarily a gathering for worship and formation. The discernment process for lay and ordained ministry is being re-visioned and the former Diocesan School for Christian Formation is being reorganized to help train leaders for the new circumstances in which the Church must live and work. He has renewed the content of both the annual clergy conference and the annual clergy retreat of the diocese, and in June 2018 he led the annual retreat for the North American Chapter of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd.
Having spent significant years of his youth in the Caribbean region, Bishop Eaton seeks to deepen the significant ties of our diocese with the region. Bishop Eaton was the preacher for the Diocesan Patronal Festival and conducted the clergy retreat for our companion Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and the Caicos Islands in 2016, and in the same year was a co-consecrator of the Bishop of Guyana, when he was also invited by the Archbishop of the West Indies to attend the meeting of the House of Bishops of the Church of the Province of the West Indies. In 2016 he was the preacher for the special service for the Barbadian community in South Florida for the 50th Anniversary of the Independence and in 2017 he was the speaker at the Gala of the Barbados Cultural Association of South Florida for the 51st anniversary of the independence of Barbados.
Because of his many years of ecumenical and inter-religious work and of their relationship with the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities of the Holy Land, Bishop Eaton and Kate were special invited guests at the celebration of the historic renovation of the Sacred Edicule of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on 22 March 2016. In 2018 he will be one of the preachers at the Maramon Convention of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar. His life-long interest in Orthodox Christianity found fruit in an invitation to contribute a chapter on Anglican-Eastern Christian relations in the 20th century to The Oxford History of Anglicanism, which was published in 2018.