Today the church remembers William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836.At the conclusion of the American Revolution there was grave concern that the Anglican Church might succumb as a disastrous side effect of the war. One of the most tireless and effective workers for an autonomous American Episcopal Church was William White, rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, and former chaplain of the Continental Congress. Appropriately, he became the first American bishop ordained in the English line. He was a quiet and scholarly man and an intimate friend of some of the prominent leaders of both America and England. As a clergyman in Philadelphia, White had exhibited an unusual sensitivity for the poor, the unfortunate, and those who were in trouble. He was president of the Philadelphia Dispensary, which supplied medical aid to the poor; of the Pennsylvania Institute for the Deaf and Dumb; and of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons. He was concerned about religious education and was instrumental in the founding of the first Episcopal Sunday school in America. On February 4, 1787, in Lambeth Chapel, London, William White was ordained bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Moore, and two other bishops. He returned immediately to America and became the first Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States. We thank you, God, for the vocation and ministry of bishops, and we ask your blessing upon them. Amen.
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O Lord, in a time of turmoil and confusion you raised up your servant William White, and endowed him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead your Church into ways of stability and peace; Hear our prayer, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry your people may be blessed and your will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.