The Rt. Rev. Canon Frank T. Griswold, who retired in 2006 as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, was installed December 1 as Canon for Interfaith and International Mission at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Griswold's new ministry at St. John the Divine will include facilitating special events at the Cathedral and abroad with themes of social justice, and bringing people of multiple faiths into conversation.
"As Presiding Bishop I have been privileged to travel extensively in other parts of the world and to experience the complex realities with which our brother and sister Anglicans live day by day," said Griswold, who spent a month with the Anglican Church of Korea this autumn, preaching and lecturing. "This has given me an enlarged sense of what it means to be an Anglican in a global context."
"This ministry is about building upon relationships, and especially upon the work that Bishop Griswold has been doing for some years to bring people of all faiths together for reconciliation and justice without participating in divisiveness," said the Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, Cathedral dean. This new post is most appropriate, Kowalski said, since the Cathedral is in "arguably the most international city in the world," which is also home to the United Nations.
The Rev. Victoria Sirota was also installed as canon pastor and vicar of the congregation of St. Saviour, which supports the Cathedral and its mission. Sirota served as vicar of the Church of the Holy Nativity in Park Heights, Baltimore, from 1995-2005
New York Bishop Mark Sisk officially installed Griswold and Sirota, and preached during the December 1 service. Drawing on Romans 10:18, when St. Paul quotes the Psalmist -- "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world" -- Sisk said, "We all have the duty to take part in spreading the good news of God's embrace to the very ends of the earth and to recognize it when we find it already present and active."
Sisk noted that part of the mission of the Episcopal Church and the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, with its long history of national and international connections and commitments, is to fulfill a mandate of dialog and understanding. Sisk also underscored the importance of reaching out to members of other religious traditions, "and to hold everyone in abiding respect as a child of God, equally loved as a sister or brother."
The purpose of reaching out in conversation is at least three-fold, said Sisk. "The first purpose is simply to make common cause as people, as human beings who together face a world of suffering and turmoil. The second is the chance to share the gifts of insight that we have been given by God in Jesus, not so much in order to proselytize, but rather to deepen our conversation with others who have had the courage to seek an encounter with the Living God. In those conversations we have the opportunity for the third purpose of our conversation: to receive from our conversation partners the gifts of insight that they, in their turn, have received from the One God who we all seek to worship and to serve. Bishop Griswold, our new Canon for Interfaith and International Mission will have a leading role in this work."
Griswold was elected to a nine-year term as Presiding Bishop at the 1997 General Convention and invested in January 1998. Before becoming Presiding Bishop, he was Bishop of Chicago (1987-1997) and Bishop Coadjutor (1985-1987). He was ordained in 1963 and served three parishes in the Diocese of Pennsylvania before being elected bishop.