The Episcopal Church

Geographical Area: 9,600,000 Sq Km

Population: 284,000,000


Anglican worship was first celebrated in North America on the coast near San Francisco, by Sir Francis Drake's chaplain, in 1579. The first regular worship began in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. English mission societies (SPG in particular) supported the early work under the direction of the Bishop of London, who never visited the American colonies. The American Revolution challenged the ongoing existence of Anglicanism, as many clergy departed for Canada or other parts of the British Empire. Lay leaders were responsible for continuing the work of parish churches and recruiting clergy. The first bishop for the new Episcopal Church was consecrated by the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1784, with two other bishops consecrated by the Church of England after changes in English law. At that point, The Episcopal Church became fully autonomous and soon began to send missionaries to other parts of the Americas and beyond. Today a quarter of the Anglican Communion's provinces derive at least in part from that missionary work. The Episcopal Church today includes 100 dioceses in the United States, and 12 additional dioceses or jurisdictions in 15 nations in Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

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