Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

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This article is about the Episcopal diocese. For other uses, see Diocese of Chicago.
Diocese of Chicago
Diocese of Chicago seal.jpg
Ecclesiastical province Province V
Subdivisions 11 Deaneries
Congregations 124
Members 40,000
Rite Episcopal
Cathedral St. James Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop Rt. Rev. Jeff Lee
Location of the Diocese of Chicago
Location of the Diocese of Chicago
St. James Cathedral is the motherchurch of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is the official organization of the Episcopal Church in Chicago and Northern Illinois, USA. The diocese is served by The Right Reverend Jeff Lee, who serves as Bishop of the diocese, and The Right Reverend C. Christopher Epting, who serves as Assistant Bishop of the diocese. The motherchurch of the diocese is St. James Cathedral, which is the oldest Episcopal congregation in the city 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 and named 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, previously a priest 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 day[edit]

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.[1]

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, the Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, was bishop of Chicago when he was elected in 1997.


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. The remaining Episcopalians in Quincy reformed their diocese, electing the retired Bishop John Buchanan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri as their provisional Bishop. In 2012 Quincy officials approached Bishop 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.[2] 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.[3]

List of deaneries[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  2. ^ "Episcopalians in Illinois Vote to Reunify". Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. 
  3. ^ "Bishops Celebrate Reunion". The Living Church. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 

External links[edit]