Former presiding bishop Frank T. Griswold dies, age 85

The Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III, who served as the 25th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church from 1998-2006, died March 5 in Philadelphia at the age of 85, according to an announcement from the Episcopal Church.

The current presiding bishop, Michael Curry, offered the following statement:
“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. May the soul of Bishop Griswold, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercies of God, rest in peace and rise in glory.”

According to the announcement, Griswold’s family provided the following obituary:

A renowned preacher known for his warmth and wit, Griswold served as the 25th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church from 1998 to 2006. Griswold also co-chaired the Roman Catholic-Anglican Commission from 1998 to 2003 and made significant contributions to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and to its practical use in the liturgical life of the church. Griswold’s private spiritual practice was deeply informed by the early mothers and fathers of the church, and he championed Eastern traditions of the open-hearted and healing power of God’s love. 

Born in Bryn Mawr, Pa., in 1937, Griswold earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Harvard College and a Master of Arts from Oriel College at the University of Oxford. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1963. He married Phoebe Wetzel in 1965 and they raised two daughters in Philadelphia and Chicago, where Griswold was elected to the episcopate in 1987.

Griswold practiced a wide ministry of teaching, writing, lecturing, and leading retreats, nationally and internationally. After completing his term as presiding bishop, he served as a visiting professor at seminaries and universities in South Korea, Cuba, and Japan, as well as at the Episcopal Divinity School, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Virginia Theological Seminary and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

He also served as bishop visitor to the Society of St. John the Evangelist. His books include “Going Home,” “Praying our Days: A guide and companion,” “Tracking Down the Holy Ghost: reflections on love and longing” and, co-authored with the Rev. Mark McIntosh, “Seeds and Faith” and “Harvest of Hope.”

He is survived by his widow, Phoebe, his two daughters, Hannah and Eliza, and three grandchildren.

The Episcopal News Service story is here.