[Dioceses of Chicago, Quincy] On Saturday, April 28, leaders of the Dioceses of Chicago and Quincy met in Chicago to continue discussing the possible reunification of the two dioceses, which were created when the Diocese of Illinois divided into three in 1877. Provisional Bishop John Buchanan of Quincy, and Bishop Jeffrey Lee and Assisting Bishop Christopher Epting, both of Chicago, attended the meeting along with clergy and lay leaders from both dioceses.
The assembled leaders agreed to develop a plan and timeline for future reunification discussions, which will continue with a meeting on August 18. Both dioceses hold their annual conventions in the fall — Quincy in October and Chicago in November — and plan to discuss reunification possibilities at those meetings.
Before the August meeting, the dioceses will form a due diligence working group to examine various issues involved in reunification, including the Diocese of Quincy’s ongoing efforts to regain buildings and funds currently in the possession of a breakaway group of Anglicans who left the Episcopal Church in 2008.
While acknowledging the complex legal and practical issues inherent in reunification, Lee expressed his hope that a spirit of discernment would continue to guide the discussions. “This is not just a structural conversation,” echoed Buchanan. “It is about people.”
Acknowledging the need to involve laypeople and clergy from both dioceses in future conversations, the assembled leaders agreed to plan visits and hold events to foster relationships between Episcopalians in Quincy and Chicago.
The Rev. Kristin Orr, dean of Chicago’s Joliet Deanery, which borders the Diocese of Quincy, reminded the group that some parishes in her deanery are closer to Quincy than fellow Chicago congregations. “We would like to visit for Sunday worship,” she told the Quincy leaders. “My parish in Flossmoor and others are praying for you all every week.”
The Diocese of Quincy, established in 1877, is a continuous diocese in union with The Episcopal Church, which welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations of the world.
The Diocese of Chicago comprises 40,000 people in 124 congregations in Northern Illinois.