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Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

  (Redirected from Bishop of Illinois)

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is the official organization of the Episcopal Church in Chicago and Northern Illinois, USA. The diocese is served by Jeffrey Lee, who serves as bishop of the diocese, and Christopher Epting, who served as Assistant Bishop in the diocese until his planned retirement in December, 2015.[1] The mother church of the diocese is St. James Cathedral, which is the oldest Episcopal congregation in the city of Chicago.

Diocese of Chicago
Diocese of Chicago seal.jpg
Ecclesiastical provinceProvince V
Subdivisions11 Deaneries
Members35,314 (2016)
CathedralSt. James Cathedral
Current leadership
BishopJeffrey Lee
Location of the Diocese of Chicago
Location of the Diocese of Chicago
St. James Cathedral is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

The Diocese of Chicago covers twenty-two counties located in the northern third of the state of Illinois, stretching from the shores of Lake Michigan on the east, to the banks of the Mississippi River on the west. Its northern boundary is the state of Wisconsin; the southernmost city is Watseka, Illinois.



The diocese was founded in 1835 as the Episcopal Diocese of Illinois. Philander Chase, the retired bishop of Ohio, was the first bishop. He was succeeded in 1852 by Henry John Whitehouse, a priest previously from New York. Edward McLaren, elected bishop in 1875, saw the Diocese of Illinois divided into three parts in 1877. The newly formed dioceses of Quincy and Springfield elected their own bishops, while McClaren's diocese was renamed the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

Present dayEdit

The Diocese of Chicago ranks among the twelve largest Episcopal dioceses in the United States, with 137 congregations, of which 36 are missions. However, in parallel with declining national memberships, the Diocese of Chicago has seen a decline in membership: 47,171 baptized members in 1994, but only 42,667 in 1996. As of 2011 the diocese website said it had 40,000 members.[2]

The diocese is far more ethnically diverse than the Episcopal Church at large. There are four Hispanic congregations, one of which is located in the near western suburbs of Chicago. In addition, four congregations outside Chicago provide Spanish language services, and two others share their facilities with congregations of the Philippine Independent Church. There is one Korean American congregation, and the diocese also serves eight African-American congregations. Minority outreach, like the kind found at the Cathedral Shelter of Chicago continues to this day.

The 25th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold, was bishop of Chicago when he was elected in 1997.

The current Bishop, Jeffrey Lee, assumed office in 2008. On February 14, 2019, Lee announced his intention to retire in August of 2020.[3]


In 2008, a majority of laity and clergy in the neighboring Episcopal Diocese of Quincy left to form a diocese in the more conservative Anglican Church in North America.[citation needed] The remaining Episcopalians in Quincy reformed their diocese, electing John Buchanan, retired Bishop of West Missouri as their provisional bishop. In 2012 Quincy officials approached Lee and the leadership of the Chicago Diocese about the possibility of reunification with Chicago.

In November 2012 the Chicago Diocese's convention agreed that reunification with the Quincy Diocese should be pursued. On June 8, 2013, both diocesan conventions voted unanimously to reunify.[4] The reunification was ratified by a majority of bishops and the standing committees of the Episcopal Church, and on September 1, 2013, the Diocese of Quincy merged into the Diocese of Chicago as the Peoria Deanery.[5]

Diocesan Bishops of Illinois and of ChicagoEdit

Bishops of Illinois
From Until Incumbent Notes
1835 1852 Philander Chase Translated from Ohio.
1852 1874 Henry John Whitehouse Coadjutor since 1851.
1875 1877 William Edward McLaren Called Edward (December 15, 1831, Geneva, NY – February 19, 1905, New York, NY); diocese split; became Bishop of Chicago.
Bishops of Chicago
1877 1905 William Edward McLaren Hitherto Bishop of Illinois.
1905 1930 Charles P. Anderson Coadjutor since 1900.
1930 1930 Sheldon Munson Griswold (January 8, 1861, Delhi, NY – November 28, 1930, Evanston, IL); previously missionary bishop of Salina.
1930 1940 George Craig Stewart (August 18, 1879, Saginaw, MI – May 2, 1940, Chicago, IL); coadjutor since 1930.
1941 1953 Wallace E. Conkling
1954 1971 Frank Burrill
1971 1987 James W. Montgomery James Winchester Montgomery (born May 29, 1921); coadjutor since 1965.
1987 1998 Frank T. Griswold Coadjutor since 1985.
1998 1999 Herbert A. Donovan, Jr. Herbert Alcorn "Herb" Donovan, Junior (born July 14, 1931); provisional bishop; retired Bishop of Arkansas.
1999 2008 William D. Persell
2008 present Jeffrey D. Lee Jeffrey Dean Lee

Other bishops of the dioceseEdit

Bishops suffragan
From Until Incumbent Notes
1911 1915 William Edward Toll, suffragan bishop (died June 28, 1915)
1917 1917 Sheldon Munson Griswold, suffragan bishop
1939 1947 Edwin J. Randall, suffragan bishop Edwin Jarvis Randall (October 24, 1869, Oconomowoc, WI – June 13, 1962, Evanston, IL)
1949 1963 Charles L. Street, suffragan bishop Charles Larrabee Street
1962 1965 James W. Montgomery, suffragan bishop
1972 1984 Quintin E. Primo, Jr., suffragan bishop Quintin Ebenezer Primo, Junior (July 1, 1913, Freedom Grove, GA – January 14, 1998, Hockessin, DE); later interim bishop of Delaware.
1990 1997 William W. Wiedrich, suffragan bishop Called Bill (born August 19, 1931)
Assistant bishops
2000 2011 Victor A. Scantlebury, assistant bishop Victor Alfonso Scantlebury (born March 31, 1945, Colón, Panama); previously suffragan in Panama.
2012 2015 C. Christopher Epting, assistant bishop (born November 26, 1946); previously bishop of Iowa, Deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations

List of deaneriesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Bishop Epting to Retire; Study on Diocesan Culture Launched", Telling Our Stories, Chicago: Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, October 28, 2015, retrieved November 1, 2015
  2. ^ Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  3. ^ Lee. The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. (February 14, 2019), A Letter from Bishop Lee/Una Carta del Obispo Lee: Call for the Election of the Thirteenth Bishop of Chicago (in English / Spanish), Chicago, Illinois: Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, retrieved February 14, 2019CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  4. ^ "Episcopalians in Illinois Vote to Reunify". Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
  5. ^ "Bishops Celebrate Reunion". The Living Church. August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2014.

External linksEdit