Suffragan Bishop David H. Lewis Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has announced plans to retire in January. Diocesan Bishop Peter James Lee said he will delay plans for a diocesan election to succeed Lewis. Bishop Philip Smith, who was suffragan bishop in Virginia before being elected to head the New Hampshire diocese, a post from which he is now retired, will assist Lee with confirmations . . . .

Marie A. Powell has been named by Arlington Bishop John E. Keating as superintendent of Catholic schools for the Arlington diocese, where she has been assistant superintendent since 1982 . . . .

The Rev. Joseph Wilson Trigg, formerly of Paducah, Ky., becomes rector of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Falls Church next week . . . .

The Rev. Joseph M. Smith, formerly director of higher education ministries of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention, will become pastor of the Takoma Park Baptist Church in Northwest Washington next week . . . .

The Rev. Donald E. Miller, an ethics scholar and professor of ministry studies at Bethany Theological Seminary in Oak Brook, Ill., is the new top executive of the Church of the Brethren. He succeeds the Rev. Robert W. Neff, newly elected president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. . . .

Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law has been appointed to the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, the office that supervises Roman Catholic religious orders.

Law also serves on the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the newly appointed papal commission to prepare a new catechism of Catholic teachings . . . .

Sister Mary Luke Tobin, a former president of the Sisters of Loretto and the only American woman designated an official observer for the Second Vatican Council, has won this year's U.S. Catholic award for her work furthering the cause of women in the church . . . .

Rabbi Milton H. Polin of Brooklyn, N.Y., was elected president last week of the Rabbinical Council of America, the major association of Orthodox rabbis.