Bishop of Chicago, Retired
The Rt. Rev. William D. Persell served as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago from 1999-2008. He presently is an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Ohio, where he previously was Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland.
As rector at St. John’s Church in Los Angeles for nine years, he was an advocate for Asian and Hispanic ministries and served as Vice President of the Black Clergy Association of Los Angeles. Bishop Persell was rector of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn, NY for nine years. Throughout his ministry, Bishop Persell has been a leader for peace and justice in church and society, and greater ecumenical and interfaith cooperation and understanding. He worked extensively with faith-based community organizations in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Cleveland.
The son of former Bishop Suffragan of Albany, Charles B. Persell, Jr., Bishop Persell grew up in Massena, NY. Following graduation from Hobart College, Bishop Persell entered seminary. For an intern year he was a Teaching Fellow at the International College in Beirut, Lebanon returning to graduate from the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA.
Bishop Persell has served as a member of the Boards of Trustees of Rush University Medical Center, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, the Christian Century Foundation, and a number of social service agencies. He is past President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.
Bishop Persell and his wife, Nancy Pollard Persell, live in Bratenahl, Ohio. They have six grown children and nine grandchildren.