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Frank Griswold, a former US Presiding Bishop, dies aged 85

06 March 2023


The former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Frank Griswold, in 2003

The former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Frank Griswold, in 2003

A FORMER Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Rt Revd Frank Griswold, died in Philadelphia on Sunday it has been announced. He was 85.

Bishop Griswold served as the 25th Presiding Bishop from 1998 to 2006, when he was succeeded by the Rt Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori. He was a co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Interna­tional Commission (ARCIC), from 1998 to 2003, and a member of the commission that produced the Windsor report on the future of the Anglican Communion in 2004.

It was during his time in office that the row blew up over the election and consecration of the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, a partnered gay man. Robinson’s election was confirmed with a comfortable majority in the national Houses of Bishops and Deputies, and Bishop Griswold agreed to consecrate him in person in November 2003. Conservative Evangelicals in the US objected, and eventually split from the Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Church in North America.

The present Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Michael Curry, said on Sunday: “Please join me in prayer for Bishop Griswold’s family and for all of us who give thanks for a remarkable and faithful servant of God who served among us as the 25th presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church.”

The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd David Hamid, who served as a co-secretary of ARCIC when Griswold was co-chair, described him on Twitter as “a great pastor, teacher, preacher and ecumenist; a joyful, gracious human being”.

The Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge, Canon Mark Oakley, also paid tribute: “So sad to hear of the death of former US Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. I shall never forget our times together, esp[ecially] touring the art galleries of Philadelphia. He made me laugh and he inspired. May he rest in love.”

In 2018, Bishop Griswold published a book of spiritual reflections and reminiscence, Tracking Down the Holy Ghost: Reflections on love and longing (Church House Publishing Inc.) (Books, 31 August 2018).

Bishop Griswold is survived by his widow, Phoebe, his two daughters, Hannah and Eliza, and three grandchildren. Arrangements for his funeral will be announced in due course, the Episcopal Church said.

Obituary to follow.

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