About the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church (Episcopal comes from the Greek word for overseer) established itself after the American Revolution as the domestic version of the Church of England. It became the forerunner of what is now the Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Communion is united by a common heritage, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as the first among equals among all primates and presiding bishops. There are approximately 70 million Anglicans around the world, members of 38 national churches who are part of this informal federation.
The first Book of Common Prayer in the Church of England dates from 1549. The first American Book of Common Prayer is 1789, with the latest revision in 1979.
A bishop in the Episcopal Church is elected by a convention, made up of lay representatives from each congregation and all resident clergy in that particular diocese. Once a person has been elected by a majority of votes in each order (lay people and clergy vote separately), that candidate must be approved of by the bishops and standing committees (chief legal council) of a majority of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church (currently 117). The exception to that is when an election falls within 120 days of the every-three-year General Convention. In such an instance, the election is instead confirmed by votes in the House of Bishops (but only bishops with jurisdiction vote; retired, assisting, and suffragans do not vote) and the House of Deputies (up to four lay persons and four clerics per diocese).
The Reverend George Edward Councell was elected on the third ballot at a special convention of the Diocese of New Jersey on Saturday, May 3, 2003. The convention was held at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton. There were seven other candidates on the ballot.
The Episcopal Church meets every three years in a 'General Convention' to make decisions that affect the national Episcopal Church and its various dioceses. Two General Conventions have been held in New Jersey: the seventh, in 1801 at Trenton; and the fifty-first, in 1934 in Atlantic City.
If you'd like to know more about the Episcopal Church, visit 'Come and Grow', a website designed for people exploring the Episcopal Church.