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Episcopal Church, The 

A conference of three clergy and twenty-four lay delegates met at Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland, on Nov. 9, 1780, and resolved that "the Church formerly known in the Province as the Church of England should now be called the Protestant Episcopal Church." On Aug. 13, 1783, the Maryland clergy met at Annapolis and adopted the name "Protestant Episcopal Church." At the second session of the 1789 General Convention, Sept. 29-Oct. 16, 1789, a Constitution of nine articles was adopted. William White was one of the chief architects of the new church. He was Presiding Bishop from July 28, 1789 to Oct. 3, 1789, and from Sept. 8, 1795 until his death on July 17, 1836. White had previously served as chaplain to the Continental and Constitutional Congresses and the United States Senate from 1777 until 1801. The new church was called the "Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America" (PECUSA). The word "Protestant" noted that this was a church in the reformation tradition, and the word "Episcopal" noted a characteristic of catholicity, the historic episcopate. The first American BCP was based on the Proposed Book of 1786 and the 1662 English BCP. It was ratified by the 1789 General Convention. Alterations or additions to the BCP require the approval of two successive General Conventions. BCP revisions were ratified in 1892, 1928, and 1979. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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