Reverend Paula Clark Makes History As First Black Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Chicago


December 17, 2020

We know a blessing when we see one!

Rev. Canon Paula Clark just made history as the first Black bishop elected to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Yahoo! News reports.

Clark has served in the episcopal church for years but said she always believed she was called to be a priest, never seeing bishop in her future. She was unanimously elected by a special convention to become the first woman and first Black person to hold the title. 


“I’m just honored to be among those who are breaking the glass ceiling and providing opportunities and examples for younger women,” Rev. Clark said.

As bishop-elect, Clark will oversee more than 120 parishes across northern Illinois. She plans to connect with her diverse congregation, continue to promote women’s leadership, and serve her community. One of her first goals is to meet with as many church members as possible to help make a difference in the region she’s serving. 

Rory Smith, a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago who serves as part of a commission to promote awareness and understanding of diverse cultures in the church, spoke about his support for Rev. Clark, saying, “We can celebrate because she’s not a Bishop for just women, she’s not a Bishop for just people of color, she’s a Bishop for the entire diocese, and that’s how she approaches her work.”


Given the nation’s current social climate, Clark also hopes to use her new position to deal with racial division.

“All of the major world religions believe in unity and peace and love…So this is an opportunity for us to have a counter-narrative to some of what we are seeing in our wider society,” said Rev. Clark.

Rev. Clark is set to be confirmed sometime in late April 2021.


Congratulations, Reverend Clark!

Photo Courtesy of Episcopal Church of Our Saviour

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