An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Fond du Lac Circus

” Pejorative name given to the ceremony in which Reginald Heber Weller was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Fond du Lac on Nov. 8, 1900. Charles C. Grafton was the Bishop of Fond du Lac at the time and a leading proponent of Anglo-catholicism. Grafton's bishop coadjutor was consecrated with a fullness of ceremonial that was unprecedented in the Episcopal Church. All officiating bishops wore copes and miters. Chrism was used in the consecration, and the newly ordained bishop was given an episcopal ring and a pastoral staff. Bishops from the Russian Orthodox Church and the Polish National (Old) Catholic Church were also present and fully vested in accordance with their traditions. Considerable uproar resulted in some parts of the Episcopal Church when a picture of the assembled bishops was published in The Living Church. Weller's consecration, known through this controversial photograph, was referred to as the “Fond du Lac Circus.” The ordinations of bishops now routinely include many of the liturgical practices and customs that led to controversy over the “Fond du Lac Circus.” See Anglo-Catholic Movement, Anglo-Catholicism; see Grafton, Charles Chapman.

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.