Memorial tributes pour in for former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold

Posted Mar 6, 2023

[Episcopal News Service] Fellow bishops and Episcopalians from across the church received the news of former Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold’s death with a mix of sorrow for the lost of the longtime church leader and gratitude for Griswold’s years of service.

Griswold, who served as presiding bishop from 1998 to 2006, died March 5 at 85. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1963 and served three parishes in the Diocese of Pennsylvania before the Diocese of Chicago elected him bishop in 1985.

“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,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a statement.

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori served as presiding bishop between Griswold and Curry. In a statement to Episcopal News Service, she recalled Griswold often advised clergy that being a “technician of the sacred” was inadequate.

“He had experience of the heart of God, and expected pastoral leaders to be continually searching those depths,” Jefferts Schori said. “As presiding bishop, he encouraged deeper connection to that heart, especially in the struggles toward inclusion of all sorts and conditions of humanity.”

Pennsylvania Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez described Griswold as “a true child of this diocese,” noting that he was born in Bryn Mawr and returned to Philadelphia in retirement with his wife, Phoebe Griswold, who survives him.

“Frank served gently, quietly, and pastorally. You always felt at ease with his smile and laughter,” Gutiérrez said. “I treasured his advice, wisdom, and friendship. He was deeply knowledgeable about the essence of The Episcopal Church and our rich global Anglican tradition.”

Griswold’s daughter, the journalist and writer Eliza Griswold, shared the news of her father’s death on Twitter, calling him “a revered preacher and teacher and very funny human with a boundless heart, as he believed God’s is.”

Other church leaders posted their own tributes to Griswold on social media. Fond du Lac Bishop Matthew Gunter recalled serving in the Diocese of Chicago when Griswold was bishop there. “He was a faithful, prayerful man,” Gunter said. “I am pleased to have served under his leadership.”