George David Cummins

1822-1875. Founder of the Reformed Episcopal Church.* Born in Delaware, he was educated at Dickinson College and ordained in the Protestant Episcopal Church after a time as a Methodist preacher. He served parishes in Norfolk, Richmond, Washington, Baltimore and Chicago, and in 1866 became assistant bishop of Kentucky. As a low churchman, however, he noticed that even his colleagues were using the Book of Common Prayer to provide for a growing “ritualism and sacerdotalism.” He tried to have the Prayer Book of 1785 approved to change this, but failed. As he could no longer obey the church's mandates-its increasing “popishness,” and strictures against celebrating Holy Communion with non-Anglicans (for which Cummins got into trouble with the church)-he resigned his orders (1873), and a few weeks later he and others of like mind, clerical and lay, founded the Reformed Episcopal Church, using the 1785 Prayer Book and with himself as presiding bishop.