William White

1748-1836. Organizer of the Protestant Episcopal Church* in the USA. Born into a wealthy Philadelphia family, he graduated in 1765 from the College of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania) and then studied theology. He was ordained priest in England in 1772 and served in Christ Church and St. Peter's in Philadelphia from 1772 until 1836. He was joint chaplain of the Continental Congress and its successor. He led in the formation of the Protestant Episcopal Church by drafting a constitution for a church free of the state in which laity were equally represented with the clergy, by writing a revised Book of Common Prayer and promoting conventions in 1785 and 1789 which created the Protestant Episcopal Church. He was elected bishop of Pennsylvania in 1786, was consecrated in London, and served in Philadelphia from 1787 till his death. He became presiding bishop in 1796.