Episcopalian – Who We Are

Our History as a List of Firsts

The Episcopal Church was born out of the American Revolution and officially became independent from the Church of England in the year 1789. Today, the Episcopal Church values its association with the Church of England and is part of the larger Anglican Communion.

The first American Episcopal bishop was consecrated in 1784 in Scotland. In the following year four men were ordained deacons and later priests. They were the first clergy ordained on American soil.

In the year 1795 Absalom Jones was the first African-American ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church. He became a priest nine years later in the year 1805.

In the 1970’s women’s ordination to both the diaconate and priesthood was embraced by our denomination.

In 1989, Barbara Harris was the first woman elected Bishop. She is also of African-American descent.

In 2003, Gene Robinson was the first openly gay and partnered priest elected bishop in the Episcopal Church (New Hampshire).

In the year 2006 Katherine Jeffers Schori was the first women elected to serve as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

At the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the summer of 2015, Michael Curry, the Diocesan bishop of North Carolina, was elected as our new Presiding Bishop. He is the first Presiding Bishop of our church of African-American descent.