William White was ordained a deacon in the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace, London, in 1770, and was made a priest two years later. He was rector of St. Peter’s, Philadelphia, and of Christ Church in the same city for 57 years. Unlike their colleagues in Virginia and New England, the Anglican clergy in Philadelphia supported the American Revolution, and the city became the capital of the United States when the war was won. He was consecrated Bishop of Pennsylvania in London in 1787 by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishops of Bath and Wells and Peterborough, after Parliament abolished the requirement of swearing allegiance to the King. White became the second American bishop after Samuel Seabury of Connecticut. He modeled the governance of The Episcopal Church on the U.S. Constitution, with a General Convention modeled after Congress with its two houses, one for bishops and one for “deputies,” both clergy and lay – the first time Anglican laypeople gained power to govern their church. Above: White’s home is now part of Independence National Historical Park. (Jack Boucher)

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