The Episcopal Church's "remarkable and faithful servant of God," Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold III died at 85 years old. He was known for being a "peaceable diplomat," leading Episcopal Church through LGBTQ debate, and supporting the first openly gay partnered priest, Gene Robinson.

Remembering Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold III

On Sunday, Mar. 5, Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold III passed away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 85 years old. He is survived by his wife, Phoebe Wetzel Griswold, with whom he shared nearly 60 years of marriage, two daughters, and three granddaughters.

The Christian Post reported that Griswold was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 1937. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1963 and was chosen to serve as the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago in 1987. In addition, Griswold succeeded Bishop Edmund Browning of The Episcopal Church after being elected as the 25th presiding bishop at the 72nd General Convention of The Episcopal Church held in Philadelphia in July 1997.

After formally assuming his position on Jan. 10, 1998, he remained in that role until Nov. 1, 2006. Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori succeeded him, the first female to lead the denomination. Moreover, the complete eucharistic relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, formalized in 2001, was reportedly established with Griswold's assistance. As per OxGaps, the reason for Griswold's passing has yet to be disclosed. Accordingly, his family will announce his cause of death, funeral, and plans for burial once everything has been settled.

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Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold III's Support in LGBTQ

Although the deepening of ecumenical relationships characterized Griswold's term, Episcopalians and Anglicans struggled mightily with sharp disagreements during his office. When the Diocese of New Hampshire became the first in the communion to elect an openly homosexual, partnered priest as its bishop in 2003, many believed that some of the so-called "bonds of affection" bind the worldwide Anglican communion together had snapped; The Christian Century reported.

In addition, most people in the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops approved Robinson's election. Griswold explained his decision to vote for Robinson because he did not see any reason why he should disagree with the clear preference of the majority of New Hampshire residents. On Nov. 2, 2003, Griswold presided over Robinson's ordination and consecration amidst tight security. When he asked whether anyone knew a reason why the service should not continue, he allowed for the full airing of objections. "We're learning to live the mystery of communion at a deeper level," Griswold stated in response to the presented complaints.

Moreover, Katharine Jefferts Schori praised Griswold as a "peaceable diplomat" who helped steer the church through those difficult times. Schori said that it was a challenging journey, but the retired bishop led from the knowledge he had in his spirit. And on occasion, the heart of Griswold would inspire unexpected humor, which would sneak in sideways. Schori also expresses gratitude to him for his consistent and selfless leadership, profound wisdom and lightheartedness, and concern for this struggling church and all of God's creatures.

According to Religion News Service, Griswold was remembered by the Washington National Cathedral as a kind and gentle priest who kept the church together despite tremendous pressures from around the globe. He reportedly expanded LGBTQ Christian's and leaders' access to God's table. Griswold also helped to create a life-giving complete Eucharist agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through thoughtful and prayerful leadership. 

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