The Rev. Sean Rowe smiles often and exudes a boyish charm.
The first glimpse of him in clerical garb, of this young man cloaked in authority, is likely to prompt a second look, borne of mild surprise.
That subsequent glance, however, reveals a gravitas belied by appearances and gifts that transcend chronological age.
The Episcopal Church has been swift to recognize Rowe’s abilities.
When he joined St. John Episcopal Church in Franklin seven years ago at the age of 25, fresh out of college and seminary, the newspaper carried the headline, “Episcopal Church gets youngster in pulpit.”
When he was ordained Dec. 2, 2000, he was the youngest priest in the Episcopal Church.
Recently elected the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Rowe, at 32, will be the youngest Episcopal bishop in the world following his Sept. 8 consecration at Grove City College’s Harbison Chapel by the presiding bishop of the church, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori.
He will likewise be the youngest member of the church’s House of Bishops ”“ by about 13 years.
Rowe’s rocketing to positions of prominence leads one to wonder if he has always been on the fast track ”” or if he is an old soul in a young man’s body.
A look at his journey to the threshold of the House of Bishops would seem to indicate that both explanations apply.