The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Morgan Porteus

Eleventh Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut: Suffragan, 1971-1976; Coadjutor, 1976; Diocesan, 1977-1981

Biographical/Historical Note:

Born in Hartford, and hailing from Windsor, Connecticut, Morgan Porteus graduated with a degree in History and Government from Bates College in Lewiston Maine in 1941, and he received his Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology in 1943 from the Episcopal Theological School. He was ordained to the diaconate in September of 1943 and to the priesthood on June 1, 1944. From 1944 until his election as Suffragan Bishop in 1971, Porteus served at St. Peter’s Church in Cheshire, Connecticut. He was consecrated bishop suffragan of Connecticut in 1971, and served as bishop coadjutor from 1975-1977. He was the eleventh diocesan from 1977 to 1981.

His consecration marked many firsts: it was the first to be used in the Liturgy for Trial Use just prior to the most recent publication of the Book of Common Prayer. His ordination was also covered locally by both live radio and television. Bishop Porteus was an inspirational homilist, and a selection of his sermons was published in the book titled “A Godly Gift of Love.”

His Episcopate was marked by his own personal and pastoral attributes. He said that he was in awe of Annual Conventions, yet his addresses were evangelistic and inspiring. His oratory was both disarming and humorous when he recalled his first address to Convention when the “microphone went dead.” Bishop Porteus maintained very close ties with clergy and lay people throughout his career. He performed many wedding ceremonies for clergy children and parishioners while bishop and received and maintained a vast amount of personal correspondence. His scrapbooks, letters, and his “silly hat collection,” that grew with his parish visitations are testaments to his beloved stature by the people of this diocese. He actively supported metropolitan missions and the Episcopal Social Service, and was involved with the Liturgy and Music Commission prior to his election as Suffragan.

In the Connecticut Churchman published in October 1981 prior to his retirement, he claimed that he was the last in a traditional line of bishops of Connecticut that arose from the clergy inside the diocese, in fact a kind of place holder. He went on to enthusiastically throw his support behind the newly-elected Bishop Coadjutor, Arthur E. Walmsley, a man of experience and vision, who would usher in the new “Venture in Mission” or Decade of Evangelism in Connecticut.  Porteus called upon parishioners to join together in this effort. Due to a heart condition, he elected to retire early on the advice of his doctor.

  Biographical Note by: Margaret Smith

Collection Summary:

Creator:  Porteus, Morgan, 1917-
Title and Citation:
Porteus, Morgan, Eleventh Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, Courtesy of the Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, This series is part of Record Group 1: Diocesan Bishop (RG1-A11)
Dates:    1971-1981 [bulk]
Extent:   44 cubic feet plus artifacts
Language:  English
Formats: Manuscripts, documents, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, artifacts
Processed: Margaret Smith
Scope and Content Note: This record group details the personal and professional life of the Rt. Rev. Morgan Porteus, eleventh Bishop of Connecticut, his election and consecration, and Episcopal acts. The record group includes his biography, career, personal and professional correspondence, photographs, artifacts, educational and professional achievements, biographies, and literary publications, among other historical and cultural documents. These files also contain published papers and sermons that are available to the public with the Bishop’s permission.
Archival Note: Papers of the bishops are subject to the “70-year” rule, leaving them unavailable for 70 years beyond retirement, unless approved by the Bishop. The exceptions are public writings (under copyright) and the permission of the bishop.

 

Collection Inventory:

  • Bishop Porteus, 'Drop Files'

  • Box 1: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Personal Files & Artifacts

  • Box 2: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, Avon, Christ Church - Brooklyn, Trinity

  • Box 3: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, Canaan, Christ Church - Greenwich, St. Barnabas

  • Box 4: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, Guilford, Christ Church - Litchfield, St. Michael's

  • Box 5: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, Marbledale, St. Andrew's - New Haven Trinity/ New London, St. James' - Niantic, St. John's Mission

  • Box 6: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, New Haven, Yale - Norwich, Resurrection

  • Box 7: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, Oakville, All Saints' - Stafford Springs, Grace

  • Box 8: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, Stamford, Emmanuel - West Haven, Christ Church

  • Box 9: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Parish Files, West Haven, St. John's-by-the-Sea - Yalesville, St. John's & Deanery Files A-Z

  • Box 10: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Postulant & Applicant Files (Restricted)

  • Box 11: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Applicant Files & Clergy (Restricted)

  • Box 12: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Clergy Files, Appointment Books, Correspondence

  • Box 13: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "A - B", "C" Miscellaneous file

  • Box 14: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "C"

  • Box 15: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "D - DIO"

  • Box 16: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "DIO CH - EPIS ACA"

  • Box 17: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, Diocesan Executive Council, "ECW - Ecumenical"

  • Box 18: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "F - LIC"

  • Box 19: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "LAM - LUC"

  • Box 20: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "MC - NAT"

  • Box 21: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "N - PRA"

  • Box 22: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "PRO - SOR"

  • Box 23: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "STA - W"

  • Box 24: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Topic Files, "X - Z", & Personal Files, 1941-1965

  • Box 25: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Personal Files & Correspondence, 1966-1977

  • Box 26: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Personal Correspondence Files, 1978 - 1980's

  • Box 27: Rt. Rev. Porteus, Personal Correspondence Files and Artifacts

  • Box 30: The Rt. Rev. Morgan Porteus correspondence and newspaper clippings

  • Box 33: Rt. Rev. Morgan Porteus, 1971-1981

  • Collection Inventory (.pdf)