Bishop Joseph ‘Jos’ Tharakan

  • 14th Bishop
  • Episcopal Church in Idaho

Tharakan comes from Springfield, Missouri, where he has been rector of St. James Episcopal Church and served as dean of the Southern Deanery of the Diocese of West Missouri. A native of Kerala, India, he was raised in a devout Roman Catholic home. He completed his seminary studies at Franciscan Seminaries in Kerala and was ordained in 1994. He obtained additional degrees in economics and political science at the University of Delhi, and English and social sciences at the University of Bhopal, India.

He came to the United States in 1997 and in 2006 then Arkansas Bishop Larry Maze received him into The Episcopal Church. Before coming to Missouri, he served at Christ Church, Mena, and All Saints Church in Russellville, both in Arkansas. His wife, Kimby, was born in California and raised in Arkansas. Together, they have six children, three grandchildren, a dog and a cat.

Tharakan said that in his ministry he is “called to walk with the other, like Jesus on the way to Emmaus, listening carefully, living authentically, and loving genuinely. The Franciscan call to ‘Rebuild My Church’ is my everyday focus; nothing more and nothing less. I have never run after a position for power, prestige, or pocketbook, but have followed God’s call from the age of 15. I have also observed that I am happy, and feel blessed and effective when I go where God sends me. And there I work hard and love people, and God does the rest.”

A multi-media artist, he has composed music and soundtracks and created short films, educational videos and websites. The COVID-19 pandemic has created “incredible opportunity for digital ministry, spiritual growth, and a tremendous potential for a new church model,” he said. “An absolute opportunity for creating basic Christian communities and empowering rural small churches where intergenerational ministry is waiting to explode.”