An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Cheney, Charles Edward

(Feb. 12, 1836-Nov. 15, 1916). A founder of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He was born in Canandaigua, New York. Cheney graduated from Hobart College in 1837, and studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary, 1857-1859. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 21, 1858, and priest on Mar. 4, 1860. Cheney was assistant rector of St. Luke's Church, Rochester, New York, 1858-1859, minister in charge of St. Paul's Church, Havana, New York, 1859-1860, and rector of Christ Church, Chicago, Illinois, from 1860 until his death. He was part of the evangelical movement in the Episcopal Church which objected to the use of the word “regenerate” in the baptismal liturgy of the Prayer Book. Cheney omitted the word “regenerate” at a baptism, and was brought to trial in 1869. He was deposed from the ministry but a civil court overturned that decision. On May 4, 1871, “the Canonical and Ecclesiastical Sentence of Degradation from the Ministry in the Church of God” was pronounced upon him by an ecclesiastical court and Bishop Henry John Whitehouse of Chicago. On Dec. 2, 1873, Cheney participated in the organization of the Reformed Episcopal Church. On Dec. 14, 1873, he was consecrated Missionary Bishop of the Northwest for the Reformed Episcopal Church. Christ Church, Chicago, became a parish in the Reformed Episcopal Church in 1874, and Cheney continued to serve as rector. From 1875 until his death he was Bishop of the Synod of Chicago. He was Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, 1876-1877 and 1887-1889. He died in Chicago.

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.