The Apostolic Succession Online Project, as it was first named, was begun unceremoniously many years ago after considering how the meticulous work of Fr. Christopher Kelley (who is no longer Episcopalian but can be found still in California here) in creating a chart of succession for the Rt. Rev. Victor Rivera, Bishop of the Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin (now deceased) might be done applying interactive http technology, and thus make the whole concept of providing individual charts of succession for American Episcopalian bishops conceivable and accessible to so many others. The name change to the American Episcopate Succession Online Project (instead of the Apostolic Episcopate Succession Online Project) is the consequence of a) discovering how a 19th century bishop referred to the Succession in a sermon at the consecration of another bishop, b) to avoid confusion with search engines regarding any “Apostolic” Christian denominations, and c) to define the limits of this project as to US Episcopal bishops, and not the whole of the Christian apostolic succession.
As I had just created the first Diocese of San Joaquin website, and included a “Bishop’s Page”, it seemed proper in creating a chart of succesion by beginning with the Rt Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop Rivera’s successor. Trying different styles, I finally decided on a simple table format with three “boxes” each of which would include one of the three required consecrators (the Canons require at least three bishops for the consecration (or ordination) of a new bishop).
Fr. Kelley had noted on his chart that he had used The Church Annual (and here as an online version, The Redbook), an annual publication that listed all Episcopalian clergy, dioceses, and a list of all bishops since the first one, Bp Seabury. The list included the “ordination number” of the three bishops who had been identified in some way as the prerequisite three. By going back into the list and looking for the numbers, one could see that bishop’s name, and their three consecrators, as well.
Occasionally, the information listed was incorrect, such as the case of the bishop listed as a consecrator but wasn’t actually in attendance at the service of consecration! Fortunately, newspaper articles and other sources helped me discover that fact in the first place, and who the bishop was in replacement. I then pass the information on to appropriate agencies. But isn’t that part of the magic of the World Wide Web, to be able to sit at home in front of a computer screen, and do research such as that (as it is made available, of course), and post such research for the benefit of so many others?
But that’s the story.
Just a further note so that it doesn’t get lost, Chris Kelley is the great grandson of the Rev. D.O.Kelley, the presbyter who in the 1800’s, almost single-handedly started enough Episcopal congregations in the San Joaquin valley to later warrant the diocese’s annexation from the Diocese of California, and on it’s own in 1911. The elder Kelley is an integral part of the history of my own parish.
My name is Rob Eaton. I am the rector of 21 years at St. John Episcopal Church in Tulare, California. I have not learned anything more than http coding, and probably won’t unless I need to, although I am quite aware, and extremely grateful, that I am taking advantage of the incredibe advances in coding that makes the 4 or 5 weblogs I have created possible.
My first computer was a Tandy from Radio Shack, back in 1983. I cut my teeth on the new computer at the University of Oregon in 1975, which took an entire new building to house. At least I’ve managed to keep up since then!