Quiz: The first election of a Presiding Bishop by General Convention took place When?

No googling or snooping, take a guess.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

24 comments on “Quiz: The first election of a Presiding Bishop by General Convention took place When?

  1. physician without health says:

    I think it was the late 1700s, after the Revolutionary War, and the candidates were a High Churchman and an Evangelical. I know that the Evangelical was from Connecticut and the High Churchman may have been from NY or Maryland; I can’t remember for sure. But bringing these two leaders together was a major accomplishment.

  2. Chris Hathaway says:

    I’ll say 1820. I seem to remember there not being a General Convention until after the turn of the century after the establishment of PECUSA.

  3. Sue Martinez says:

    Very recently, I think, but I don’t know exactly when. Until then, the most senior bishop was the Presiding Bishop. (Hmm–sounds like a very similar qualification for the “gang of three” that did [i]not[/i] agree to throw Bishop Duncan out.)

  4. scaevola says:

    I’d guess the 1940’s.

  5. bwd45 says:

    Was it as late as Lichtenberger–1950s?

  6. Sidney says:

    I’ll also guess 1940s, as I was under the impression that that video of Henry Knox Sherrill being installed was one of the early ones.

  7. KevinBabb says:

    I think that the enabling legislation that called for election of the PB was passed in 1917. The next General Convention after that would have been about 1919, so that is my vote.

  8. Michele says:


  9. Ron Baird says:


  10. Nikolaus says:

    I was going to say around 1910, but Mr. Babb may be more accurate.

  11. Frank Fuller says:


  12. Hakkatan says:

    I am with Keven Babb. I was going to say the early 1920’s, because I knew that the change from simple seniority to an elected position happened in the 1910’s, but I was not sure exactly when. Since he knows the dates more precisely — I will say 1919 as well.

    That change was when the structure of ECUSA moved from an ecclesiastical model to a corporate model. (My heavens! An actual change in sacred polity!) Many of the “Mainline” denominations made a similar shift about the same time.

  13. Ron Baird says:

    OOOPS! I just realized that my date in # 9 is around the time that the PB went to full time rather than being a Diocesan with presiding position in House of Bishops. I will have to reconsider.

  14. James Manley says:

    1920s? The Age of “Professionalism” meets the Progressive Movement?

  15. BCP28 says:

    John Gardner Murray, Bishop of Maryland, former Rector of St Michael and All Angels, ca. 1920’s.

  16. Rob Eaton+ says:

    Just for review –
    There have been four methods of choosing a President of the House of Bishops, the fourth being a variation on the third. The first three presume remaining as diocesan Ordinary.
    1) Senior Bishop (the agreement between White and Seabury, 1789)
    2) Rotation (after Provoost and Madison came on board and complained about 1, but then it changed back to Seniority before 1800).
    2) Senior bishop (active)
    3) Election (this was decided in tandem with the est. of a “National Council”, which had been attempted by amendment several times before finally agreed at GC in 1919. But a PB under the new rule wouldn’t be elected until ol’ PBp Tuttle died, and that would be who BCP28 said, John Murray, in 1926)
    4) Election to a full-time position (resignation from diocesan position, adopted in 1943 or ’46?).
    The answer is, “When the HOB and HOD got tired of relying upon senior bishops (the old guys) to keep up with the increasing demands and rigors of travel and responsibilities.”


  17. Rob Eaton+ says:

    Whoops, pull the second number 2).

  18. RichardKew says:

    My guess is that it was either Henry Knox Sherrill in the 40s or Lichtenburger in the 50s

  19. Cennydd says:

    I vaguely remember the Presiding Bishop being chosen by election amongst the bishops themselves, and not involving General Convention. The House would convene for the election, and would publicly announce their choice immediately following the election: “We have a Presiding Bishop, and his name is…………….”

  20. Rob Eaton+ says:

    Oh, is that the question? Not when a Presiding Bishop was “elected”, but when elected by General Convention as a whole??
    My bad. I think I must have read, “AT” GC.
    Thanks for that, Cennydd.
    Still, things have progressed since “we have a new PB!” I was at both Philadelphia and Columbus as a deputy, and both times the House of Deputies actually voted to confirm or affirm the HOB election. Kind of a procedural stamp of approval. I don’t know if that happened for +Allen or +Browning.
    But as far as I know, General Convention as a whole has never elected a Presiding Bishop. Discussion and amendments have been floated in that direction, but not carried through successfully.
    What has definitely developed and expanded, though, is the scope of the office once elected. And all that has been duly authorized through General Conventions.


  21. J. Champlin says:

    My guess was 1919 or 1922 — then I looked it up (cheater!) in A Brief History of the Episcopal Church. It was a pretty good guess. With the fear of the elves before my eyes I decline to say any more.

  22. physician without health says:

    I am dying to know the real answer. #21, what did you find out?

  23. Robert Dedmon says:


  24. J. Champlin says:

    General Convention 1925.