Rev. Paula E. Clark leads the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

Wearing dreadlocks under her miter, the Rt. Rev. Paula E. Clark is the first Black person and the first Black woman named the 30th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. 

She represents 30,000 Episcopalians in 122 congregations across northern and west central Illinois. The election to her post was conducted over Zoom by four candidates. She received 229 clergy votes and 284 lay votes.

Clark previously served as canon to the ordinary and chief of staff in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Clark was baptized into the Episcopal Church at age ten by Bishop John Walker, the first Black dean of Washington National Cathedral and the first Black bishop of the Diocese of Washington.

She received her undergraduate education at Brown University and earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004 she also received a Master’s Degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. 

She was selected for the position on December 12, 2020, and ordained and consecrated on September 17, 2022. Photo provided from the Episcopal News Service.