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Episcopal Diocese of Newark

Diocese of Newark
Ecclesiastical province Province II
Congregations 102
Members 27,120
Rite Episcopal
Cathedral Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral
Current leadership
Bishop The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith
Location of the Diocese of Newark
Location of the Diocese of Newark
Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral
Office building
The see city of Newark, New Jersey forms part of the densely populated New York metropolitan area

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark is a diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America comprising the northern third of New Jersey in the United States. The Diocese represents the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a province, and presides over Episcopal parishes, missions, outreach ministries and schools in the New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren, and one church in Union County.

In 2006, the diocese had 27,600 members, spread among 113 congregations.[9]


Though Newark was originally a Puritan settlement, Anglicans have been worshipping in the area since 1695. An Anglican congregation was established in Newark by 1729 and a church, Trinity Church, was under construction in 1742. Two other current parishes, Christ Church in what is now Belleville (1746) and Christ Church in Newton (1769), were established by charter of the British Crown. The church, with its association with Britain, suffered during the American Revolutionary War, but by the time the first bishop of New Jersey was elected in 1815, there were 27 congregations. By 1832, there were 85 congregations statewide.

The Diocese of Northern New Jersey was separated from the larger Diocese of New Jersey in 1874. The new diocese had 64 congregations and established Christ Hospital in Jersey City. The diocese took its present name in 1886, and by 1903 there were over 100 congregations. Despite the Great Depression that number rose to 153 by 1931.

In June 1967, the region was rocked by the Book of Common Prayer and two of the Philadelphia Eleven (the first female priests ordained in the USA) eventually became priests of the Diocese.

The next bishop, John Shelby Spong, was and is a lightning-rod for controversy. In addition to his positions on war and the ordination of women, Spong advocated for the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy, a stance which drew much criticism and continues to be a subject for much contention in the church. Since his retirement, Spong has enjoyed considerable success as a writer and public speaker. Under Spong's watch, the Oasis Commission, the first diocesan ministry to LGBT persons, was formed. Spong's many books have challenged Christian orthodoxy, including the Virgin Birth and the physical Resurrection of Jesus. He has also described as "barbaric" the notion that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind.

Under the ninth bishop, John P. Croneberger, the diocese continued to be in the vanguard of radical inclusion. Croneberger directed the creation of an established liturgy for the blessing of same-sex relationships, oversaw the massive diocesan response to the September 11 attacks, and brought the ownership of Christ Hospital back under diocesan control.

Croneberger also established a Canon for Congregational Development, which is helping churches with the challenging task of planning for the future. In the past 30 or so years the diocese has struggled to keep up with the growing population in the region. 23 congregations have closed (compared with a 2% increase nationwide) due to dropping attendance. A major obstacle is the concentration of churches, many of which are over 100 years old, in traditional population centers that do not reflect the growth patterns in the state. Numerous churches are within five miles of 15 other congregations. Another diocesan commission, the Bethsaida Team, helps churches overcome obstacles for people with disabilities.

Between 2000 and 2004, donations from parishioners increased 11.5 percent, but Sunday attendance decreased 11.8 percent since 2000. [9]

From 2005 to 2010 not only did attendance decrease, but so did donations and several churches were closed.[10]

Tenth bishop

On September 23, 2006, the Rev. Mark Beckwith, a former associate rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey, was elected bishop of Newark on the third ballot from a field of six candidates.[11] He was consecrated on January 27, 2007 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

The election brought some controversy because one candidate, Michael Barlowe, was openly gay.[9] The New York Times reported that the announcement of the candidate list coincided with two calls for restraint on the issue. The first plea was from the national church's 75th General Convention. The second was a proposal from Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams that could exclude provinces with gay bishops from full membership of the Anglican Communion.

Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark

# Portrait Bishop Term Notes
- - Uzal Ogden, Jr. - While elected as bishop at a diocesan convention 1798, he was not consecrated as the General Convention considered him too "Methodistical" and for having abandoned the Prayer Book in favour of "extemporaneous prayers". He joined the Presbyterians soon after.[12]
- - John Croes 1815-1832 As Bishop of New Jersey before partition of the diocese in 1874.
- - George Washington Doane 1832-1859 As Bishop of New Jersey.
I - William Henry Odenheimer 1859-1880 As Bishop of New Jersey until 1874, afterwards first Bishop of Northern New Jersey.
II - Thomas A. Starkey 1880-1903 At first as second Bishop of Northern New Jersey; after 1888 as Bishop of Newark.
III - Edwin Stevens Lines 1903-1927 With Wilson Reiff Stearly as Suffragan Bishop (1915) and Coadjutor Bishop (1917)
IV - Wilson Reiff Stearly 1927-1935 With Benjamin Martin Washburn as Coadjustor Bishop (1932)
V - Benjamin Martin Washburn 1935-1958 With Theodore R. Ludlow as Suffragan Bishop (1936-1953) and Leland Stark as Coadjutor Bishop (1953).
VI - Leland Stark 1958-1974 With Suffragan Bishop (1964), later Coadjutor Bishop (1970).
VII - George Edward Rath 1974-1979 With John Shelby Spong as Coadjutor Bishop (1976)
VIII - John Shelby Spong 1979-2000 With Walter Cameron Righter as Assistant; Jack Marston McKelvey as Suffragan Bishop (1991-1999); and John Palmer Croneberger as Coadjutor Bishop (1998–2000)
IX - John Palmer Croneberger 2000-2007 With Carol Gallagher as Assistant
X - *Mark Beckwith 2007-present


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h
  4. ^ a b c Perry, p. 332.
  5. ^ a b c d
  6. ^ a b c Perry, p. 333.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Perry, p. 334.
  9. ^ a b c New York Time, 2006. For New Jersey diocese, picking bishop means facing rift by Tina Kelley / New York Times, August 6, 2006. Retrieved from The Detroit News on August 30, 2006.
  10. ^ Jan. 10, 2010Virtue Online
  11. ^ Voice, diocesan newspaper, Fall 2006. Congratulations to the Rev. Mark Beckwith.
  12. ^ Merritt Ierley, An Inheritance of the Faithful: A 225 Anniversary History of Christ Episcopal Church Newton, New Jersey (Newton, NJ: Christ Church, 1993), 16.

External links

  • Diocese of Newark
  • History of the Diocese of Newark
  • Election of the 10th Bishop of Newark — with candidate biographies
  • Louie Crew's Page on the Diocese of Newark
  • Journal of the Annual Convention, Diocese of Newark

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