After the United States of America won its freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain following the War for Independence, former Church of England laity and clergy reorganized in 1785 at a General Convention held in Philadelphia. British colonial policy had forbidden the presence of bishops before the Revolution, and the newly organized church was from its inception a church governed equally by laity and clergy. In particular, bishops were to be elected by the people and other clergy. After being rebuffed by the Church of England, Connecticut churches sent a priest they had elected as bishop to Scotland to be consecrated in Aberdeen – an act illegal at the time under British law, The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (generally known as The Episcopal Church) has expanded to include dioceses and congregations in some 20 countries: in North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. The General Convention, consisting of two equal houses (Deputies and Bishops) remains the highest temporal authority of The Episcopal Church, and typically convenes once every three years. Between conventions, its work and ministry are conducted by its interim bodies, and primarily through the Executive Council.