Village Life Church Archives
Griswold Elected to
Lead Episcopal Church

PHILADELPHIA -- Bishop Frank Griswold of the Diocese of Chicago will lead the Episcopal Church into the 21st century.

Griswold was elected the 25th presiding bishop today by 214 bishops gathered at historic Christ Church to choose a successor to Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning, whose term ends Jan. 1, 1998.

The election came on the third ballot when Griswold received 110 votes, two more than the majority needed for election.

Four other bishops were nominated for the election: Robert Rowley of the Diocese of Northwest Pennsylvania, Richard Shimpfky of the Diocese of El Camino Real (California), Herbert Thompson Jr. of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, and Don Wimberly of the Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky).

Thompson was the closest contender, receiving 96 votes on the third ballot. Next in line was Rowley with five votes, followed by Shimpfky with two votes. In the third ballot, no votes were recorded for Wimberly, and only 213 bishops voted.

As required by church law, the election was not final until the House of Deputies affirmed the election following a brief debate.

Griswold, 59, is in his 10th year as bishop of Chicago. His term has been marked by greater acceptance of women priests, a shift to a voluntarily funded budget, a revamping of congregational development policy leading to self-sufficiency for assisted congregations, and more emphasis on the work of the 13 social service agencies of Episcopal Charities.

The election at Christ Church - site of the election of the church's first presiding bishop, William White, in 1789 - had special meaning for Griswold and the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Griswold was born and raised in Bryn Mawr, a suburb of Philadelphia, and served three Philadelphia-area parishes as an assistant priest or rector for 22 years before being elected bishop coadjutor of Chicago in 1984.

He has been married for 37 years to Phoebe Wetzel, director of the Chicago office of Heifer Project International. The Griswolds have two daughters, Eliza, 24, and Hannah, 28.

Posted July 22, 1997

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