The reunification of the Diocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Quincy has been approved as required by a majority of bishops and standing committees in the Episcopal Church, and the bishops of Quincy and Chicago announced today that the two dioceses will reunite on Sept. 1. The press announcement reads:
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of Chicago, and the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, provisional bishop of Quincy, announced today that the two dioceses will reunite on Sunday, September 1.
The conventions of the two dioceses, which had split in 1877 to accommodate growth, had unanimously agreed to the reunion on June 6. The canons of the church require that a majority of bishops and standing committees of elected lay and clergy leaders from other dioceses in the Episcopal Church consent to the reunion. Those consents were received during the summer.
“Along with many of you, we have waited, worked and prayed for this day for more than a year,” wrote Lee and Buchanan in a letter to the people of the two dioceses. “During that time, the Holy Spirit has led us toward a shared understanding of God’s call to the people of Chicago and Quincy and how we should order our common life to respond. Now we are free to go about that work.”
The reunified diocese, to be known as the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, will include the 125 congregations and chaplaincies and more than 36,000 members of the existing Diocese of Chicago in northern Illinois, and the nine congregations and 755 members of the Diocese of Quincy in west central Illinois.
The bishops also announced that in early 2014, Buchanan will assume duties as a part-time assisting bishop in the reunited diocese. He will work primarily with the congregations of the former Diocese of Chicago, thereby making it possible for Lee and the diocese’s other part-time assisting bishop, the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, to spend more time with the parishes in the former Quincy diocese, which will now be known as the Peoria deanery.
The first convention of the reunited diocese will take place November 22-23 in Lombard, Illinois.
The Rev. Alberto Cutie will be the keynote speaker for the event, which is titled “Behold! We are Doing a New Thing.”
Since 2008, the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy has been forging a new identity. After its former bishop and about 60% of its members broke away to become founders of the theologically conservative Anglican Church of North America, the diocese elected Buchanan, retired bishop of West Missouri, as provisional bishop in 2009. In 2012, the diocese’s leaders approached Lee about the possibility of reunion.
The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago includes more than 36,000 Episcopalians in 125 congregations and chaplaincies across northern Illinois. The Episcopal Bishop of Chicago is the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee. To learn more, visit www.episcopalchicago.org.
The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, established in 1877, is a continuous diocese in union with The Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations of the world. The Provisional Bishop of Quincy is the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan. To learn more, please visit www.thedioceseofquincyonline.com.
Read the bishops’ joint letter here.