Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island: Wikis


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Location of the Diocese of Rhode Island

The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island is a diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, encompassing the state of Rhode Island. It is one of seven New England dioceses that make up Province 1.

The Episcopal seat of the diocese, the Cathedral of St. John is at 271 North Main Street in the see city of Providence. There are 65 parishes in the diocese, with more than 17,000 communicants. The bishop is The Right Reverend Geralyn Wolf, the twelfth person to hold this office. One of the few women serving as diocesan bishop, she was consecrated in 1996.



The diocese was founded in 1790 by two clergymen and five members of the laity, representatives of the four charter churches of the diocese, King's Church in Providence (1722), Trinity Church in Newport (1702), St. Paul's in Narragansett (1707), and St. Michael's in Bristol (1720).[1] Without sufficient resources to support a bishop of their own, they elected Samuel Seabury, who was bishop of Connecticut, to hold the office of bishop of Rhode Island as well. Under Rhode Island's third bishop, Alexander Viets Griswold, the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island expanded from 200 communicants in four parishes to almost 2,000 in seventeen parishes. This growth continued under the next two bishops, John P. K. Henshaw and Thomas M. Clark, and this trend was supported by the immigration of many English Anglicans. By the end of the 19th century, the diocese had grown to 35 parishes.

In the first part of the 20th century, the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island focused on urban ministry with a focus on social concerns, led by Bishop William N. McVickar. The first deaconess was ordained in 1890, and from 1910 to 1914 the number of women serving in this position and ordained by Bishop James D. Perry had grown from one to seven. Under Perry and his successor, Gaylord G. Bennett, the number of parishes continued to grow.

From 1955 to 1972, the diocese was led by John Seville Higgins, who started campus ministries and a number of other missions. Bishop Frederick H. Belden led the church through the transitions occasioned by the ordination of women to the priesthood, ordaining Jo-Ann J. Drake to the transitional diaconate in 1977 and to the priesthood in 1978, (Patrica A. Smith, ordained deacon by Bishop Belden in 1976 continued her studies for the priesthood and was ordained in 1980) and adoption of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Belden was succeeded by George Hunt, who served as bishop from 1980 to 1994. Hunt led a crusade for accountability by the state government on the issues of corruption, organized crime and gambling. He also insisted that the process for ordination in the diocese not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

Bishops of Rhode Island

These are the bishops who have served the Diocese of Rhode Island:[2]

  1. Samuel Seabury (1790 - 1796)
  2. Edward Bass (1798 - 1803)
  3. Alexander Viets Griswold (1811 - 1843)
  4. John P. K. Henshaw (1843 - 1852)
  5. Thomas March Clark (1854 - 1903)
    * William N. McVickar, Coadjutor Bishop (1898 - 1903)
  6. William N. McVickar (1903 - 1910)
  7. James D. Perry (1911 - 1946)
    * Granville G. Bennett, Suffragan Bishop (elected 1939)
  8. Granville G. Bennett (1946 - 1954)
    * John S. Higgins, Coadjutor Bishop (1953 - 1955)
  9. John S. Higgins (1955 - 1972)
    * Frederick H. Belden, Coadjutor Bishop (1971 - 1972)
  10. Frederick H. Belden (1972 - 1979)
  11. George N. Hunt, III (1980 - 1994)
  12. Geralyn Wolf (1996 - present)

Churches of Rhode Island


Bristol County

Kent County

Newport County

Providence County

Washington County

See also

Notes and External links

  1. ^ "Register to the Records of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral, Rhode Island". University of Rhode Island Library. 2008-11-09. http://www.uri.edu/library/special_collections/registers/churches/stjcath/Mss.%20Gr.%2094b.html.  
  2. ^ The Episcopal Church Annual. Morehouse Publishing: New York, NY (2005)


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