YARDLEY BOROUGH >> A former Yardley church minister who went on to become the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Church in the USA is coming “home” in June to help install the local church’s new rector.
The Right Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III will help in the installation of the Rev. Hilary Greer at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 17, at the historic St. Andrews’ Episcopal Church on Lake Afton. The installation and a “rain or shine” picnic following the service are open to the public.
Also assisting in the service will be another former St. Andrews’ rector, the Rev. Sharline Fulton, one of the first women to be ordained in the Episcopal Church and the only female rector at the Yardley church until now. Now retired, she served as rector at the Yardley church from 1989 to 1997.
The June 17 date is a significant one for the Yardley church: the church’s sanctuary was consecrated on June 17, 1890.
The Rev. Greer became rector in the Yardley church in February. She succeeded Rev. Daniell Hamby, who was rector for 17 years before retiring.
The Rev. Griswold was ordained a priest in 1963 and served as rector of the Yardley church from 1966 to 1976. He was named Bishop of Chicago in 1987 and 25th Presiding Bishop in 1998. He served as the leader of Episcopalians in the U.S. until he retired in 2006. He has remained busy in retirement, continuing a ministry of teaching, preaching, writing, lecturing and leading national and international retreats. He and his wife, Phoebe, live in Philadelphia.
“Both Bishop Griswold and Rev. Fulton are beloved leaders of St. Andrew’s and it will be a joy to have them here to celebrate this new chapter in the parish’s history,” Rev. Greer said. She called it “an honor” to have Griswold preach for the service.
Also coming to the service will be Griswold’s wife, Phoebe, who was one of the founders of Friends of Lake Afton in 1969. This non-profit organization was founded to “improve, protect and maintain Lake Afton and the public areas surrounding” it. “They both made a very tangible difference in their time here,” Rev. Greer said of the couple.
The Yardley church is known for its many and varied outreach programs. Rector’s Warden Kathleen Johnson said when Rev. Greer was named rector earlier this year that “St. Andrews is proud to serve as a community church for all of Yardley and the surrounding towns.” She cited “parents whose children attend the pre-school, to the volunteers who help make thousands of meals a year in our parish hall, to the members of the many recovery groups that meet here and those who simply come into our open sanctuary in search of a quiet place to pray.” St. Andrew’s invites the entire community to join the service or the picnic following it.