In Memoriam: Harvey Guthrie, Jr. ‘47

Reported in the Boston Globe, February 14, 2018

The Rev. Harvey Henry Guthrie Jr., Class of 1947, who threatened to step down as Dean of Episcopal Divinity School in 1974, forging the way for women to be added to the faculty, has died at the age of 93. Dr. Guthrie, who in retirement returned home to Fillmore, California and volunteered as a legal aid advocate for the poor late into his 80s, died Dec. 17, 2017 in Oxnard, Calif., of complications from a fractured hip.

Born October 31, 1924 in Santa Paula, Calif., Guthrie’s father, Harvey Sr., was a laborer and held many jobs. His mother, the former Emma Aubrey, had been a church custodian and later worked in a lemon packing plant. Upon graduating from Ventura High School, the future divinity school dean aspired to be either a lawyer or minister. He attended Ventura Junior College and graduated from Missouri Valley College with a bachelor’s degree, but reading “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic,” by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, provided direction. Dr. Guthrie headed to Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where Niebuhr taught.

“While I was there, I decided the Episcopal Church was the one I wanted to be ordained in,” Dr. Guthrie told the Los Angeles Times. “I was attracted to the Episcopal tradition of inclusiveness and doctrinal freedom.”

In 1945, Dr. Guthrie married Doris Peyton. They had met while they were college students, and in retirement they lived in her family’s home in Fillmore. Mrs. Guthrie, who had worked in survey departments at universities in Massachusetts and Michigan, was 91 when she died in their home in 2016. Their son Lawrence died last year. “People really loved my dad,” said his daughter, Lynn of Seattle. “My dad lived a long and meaningful life, right up to the end, and lots of people cared deeply for him.”

He spent three years as vicar of St. Margaret’s Church in White Plains, N.Y., before becoming an instructor at General, where he also received both a master’s and a doctorate.

In 1958, Dr. Guthrie joined the faculty of what was then the Episcopal Theological School, and he was named dean in 1969. He was a leader in the 1974 merger of the institution with the Philadelphia Divinity School, and was co-dean with the Rev. Edward Harris of the renamed Episcopal Divinity School until Harris retired a couple of years later. Dr. Guthrie stayed as dean until 1985. In the 1960s, he helped found the Boston Theological Institute consortium, which allowed students to take some courses at any of seven area seminaries.

Frustrated by the Episcopal Divinity School’s refusal to hire its first ordained Anglican woman to serve on the faculty, the Rev. Harvey Guthrie Jr. threatened to step down as dean in 1974, and he issued his ultimatum in the most public of forums: a speech during commencement ceremonies.

He said that if the school’s board claimed no funds were available, he would quit so his salary could be used. “That is blackmail, but I believe it is Gospel blackmail,” he told the Globe. “It is all I can do about it, but in the name of God, something has to be done.”

Several months later, the Cambridge school hired two ordained women, the Rev. Carter Heyward and the Rev. Suzanne Hiatt. While Dr. Guthrie was dean, the school also became the first Episcopal seminary to let ordained Anglican women celebrate the Eucharist in its chapel and the first to admit openly gay and lesbian students to degree programs.

The school “had a dean who was practicing ecclesiastical disobedience,” said the Rev. Gary Hall, who recently stepped down from chairing the Episcopal Divinity School board. “That was a hard moment, but he didn’t back down.” “The trustees had said, ‘We don’t have the money to hire any more people.’ And he said, ‘This is really a matter of justice,’ ” Hall said.

Through Dr. Guthrie’s teaching and leadership, “he had a gigantic” influence on the Episcopal Divinity School, said Hall, who added that he also “was one of the major leaders in ordination for women and really had an impact in ways that are hard to measure.”

Dr. Guthrie also had been a president of the Association of Theology Schools, and after stepping down as dean of Episcopal Divinity School he served until 1995 as rector of St. Andrew’s Church, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The books he wrote include “God and History in the Old Testament” (1960), “Israel’s Sacred Songs” (1966), and “Theology as Thanksgiving: From Israel’s Psalms to the Church’s Eucharist” (1981).

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Guthrie leaves two sons, Stephen of Cambridge and Andrew of Hong Kong; a brother, Jim of Port Angeles, Wash.; and three granddaughters.

In Memoriam: Robert Granfeldt, Sr. ‘70

The Rev. Robert C. Granfeldt, Class of 1970, died Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the age of 75. His funeral will be held in 2019, at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Sea Cow Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. 

Born on June 6, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan to Robert Charles and Matilda Granfeldt, he had a rocky start in life; two childhood bouts with rheumatic fever left him determined to become a Roman Catholic priest and his parents were told he would not live to see the age of 18. When he was fourteen, he met Mary Elizabeth Rudick and on that day decided he no longer wanted to be a priest because he would marry her. They did marry and Robert attended New York University, graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan with a BA in Theater.

During his college years, Bob and Mary converted to the Episcopal Church and together decided he would fulfill his calling to the priesthood. He attended General and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Michigan by Bishop Archie H. Crowley on January 22, 1972, while serving as Associate Rector at Christ Church Detroit.  In 1973 he became the part-time interim vicar at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Otis, Massachusetts, later becoming Vicar of St. Helena's Chapel, Lenox, MA.  In 1975 Granfeldt was called to the Episcopal Chaplaincy at the University of Massachusetts until the summer of 1978, when he took a similar calling as Episcopal Chaplin at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  After three years in Texas, he moved his ministry to the British Virgin Islands, becoming the Vicar and later Rector of St. Georges Anglican Church on Tortola, assisting the congregation in a transition from a mission to a parish. He returned to the United States in 1984 when he and Mary moved to Emanuel Episcopal Church Quakertown, Pa.

In 1987, their daughter Lynne became ill and Father Bob and Mary left Quakertown, moving to Austin, Texas to care for her.  They provided Lynne’s care for nearly seven years, moving with her to Naples, Florida so she could live by the sea. After Lynne’s death in 1994, Mary and Bob returned to their beloved British Virgin Islands for four years of healing.

In 1998 the couple resumed their life in the church with an interim position at Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania after which Father Bob and Mary were called back to parish life and Bob became the Rector at Calvary Episcopal Church in Rockdale (Aston), Pennsylvania. Granfeldt retired from Calvary in 2008 when he and Mary moved to Augusta, Georgia and later Buford, Georgia to live near his son’s family there.  Mary died in 2014 and in his final years, suffering with Alzheimer’s, Bob split his time living with his daughter Bettina’s family in Tortola and his son, Robert’s family in Montgomery, Alabama and most recently in Roanoke, Texas (just north of Fort Worth).

He was preceded in death by his parents, the love of his life Mary Elizabeth, his middle daughter Lynne, and a brother Hugh.  He is survived by brother Eric and Pat Granfeldt, his remaining daughter and son: Bettina and Mark Hooper and their two children (Elizabeth and Carl), Robert and Karen Granfeldt and their three children (Grayson, Cameron and Kalen).  He leaves behind many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews and those whose lives, hearts and souls he touched throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He died at the home of his son Robert at the age of 75, surpassing the doctors’ expectations by 57 years.

A New Call for Bridget Coffey ‘09

The Rev. Bridget Coffey, Class of 2009, has been named the seventh Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Toledo, Ohio, with installation February 17, 2018.

Coffey most recently served as assistant rector at Christ Church, Winchester, Virginia, since 2011. She previously served as Curate at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, KY, and as interim minister for children, youth, and young adults at St. Paul’s, Centerville, Maryland.

Coffey was raised on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in the town of North East, Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. Prior to attending General, she served for three years as a youth minister at her sponsoring parish, St. Mary Anne’s, in North East, MD.

A New Call for John Bethell ‘13

The Rev. John C. Bethell, Class of 2013, is the new command chaplain of Naval Support Activity Souda Bay on the island of Crete.

He most previously served as Chaplain at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Hazelton, West Virginia, one of only three Episcopal priests in the Federal Prison System.

Bethell was formerly Assistant Priest at Holy Trinity, Clemson, South Carolina, as well as the Episcopal chaplain to Clemson University and the Clemson Fire Department. 

Stations of the Cross throughout Manhattan

Stations of the Cross throughout Manhattan

General Seminary is partnering with New York City churches and museums for a Manhattan-wide Stations of the Cross that takes the form of a public art project. It begins at the Met Cloisters (Station One – Jesus is Condemned) and ends at the National September 11 Memorial (Station Fourteen - Entombment). Several churches, including Trinity Church Wall Street and the Riverside Church will also serve as stations. Additionally, other stations include the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and the African Burial Ground Visitor Center.

In Memorium: Paul Koumrian ‘67

The Rev. Dr. Paul Sprower Koumrian, Class of 1967, died peacefully at St. Clare’s Home on January 25, 2018 in Newport, RI at the age of 79.

Koumrian is survived by his son Timothy, daughter-in-law Shane, grandchildren Peter and Julia of Sunapee, NH, and former wife Elizabeth Lowell of New London, NH. He is also survived by his sister Carolyn Whitman of Southport, CT and Deborah, Corey, Paul, Candace and Charles Whitman, his nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Movses and Dorothy Koumrian of Forest Hills, NY and his oldest sister Jeanne Roe, also of Forest Hills, NY.

Koumrian was born on April 2, 1938 in Forest Hills, NY. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1959 and completed his formal education at General in 1967. He spent 40+ years proudly serving Episcopal congregations through parish ministry, possessing a love and talent for children's storytelling in that venue (serving the Dioceses of Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and most recently, Rhode Island). Personally, he found his passion in jazz music and on the theater stage. 

A funeral is scheduled for 11:00 AM Thursday, February 1, 2018 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport, RI, with a reception to follow. The Rev. Canon Anne Marie Richards and the Rev. Alan Neale will officiate the ceremony alongside the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of Rhode Island, and other distinguished clergy. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Paul's life. In lieu of flowers, as a life-long lover of dogs, Paul has asked for donations to be made on his behalf to Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, 110 Chapin Rd, Hudson, MA 01749 or by calling (978) 568-9700.


In Memoriam: Addison Groff ‘49

The Rev. Addison Keiper Groff, Class of 1949, died on Sunday, January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles at the age of 98.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 4:30 PM at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, 7501 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, with burial to follow in the Groff family plot at Greenwood Cemetery in Lancaster, PA.

Born in Rochester, NY, on March 22, 1919, and raised in Lancaster County and western Maryland, Groff graduated with a degree in English from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, in 1941. Called to the ministry just as his father was before him, he graduated from Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1944 and served for four years in the Evangelical and Reformed Church (now part of the United Church of Christ) in western Pennsylvania. He was drawn to the Episcopal Church by the beauty and grace of its worship, and through the mentorship of the Rev. William Chamberlain and the Rev. Richard Kunkel. After an Anglican year at General, he was ordained to the diaconate at the Church of Our Savior in Dubois, PA in 1949, and to the priesthood at Christ Church, Punxsutawney, PA in 1950. He served as curate at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Castle, PA.

In 1953, Groff became rector of St. Agnes’ Church in East Orange, New Jersey. He married Irene Bornemann, known as Ronnie, in 1954. He shepherded a racially diverse parish through the struggle and progress of the civil rights movement, culminating in the construction of a new parish hall as a symbol of hope and unity. Called in 1971 to be rector at the former St. Peter’s Church in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, he again led a major building project, restoring the church in the Tudor style and reconstructing its iconic bell tower.

During his years in the Diocese of Newark, he was secretary to the Corporation for the Relief of Widows, Widowers and Children of the Clergy (CWWC) of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New Jersey, assistant secretary of the diocesan convention, and chaplain of the former House of the Holy Comforter in West Orange, where he celebrated Holy Communion weekly from 1954 until his retirement. He also served as chaplain of the East Orange and Rochelle Park fire departments.

Addison and Ronnie retired to Houston, Delaware in 1989, where he became priest associate at Christ Church, Milford, and regularly conducted services at St. Stephen’s, Harrington, and St. John the Baptist, Milton. In retirement he cultivated an extensive garden, while fishing and boating in his beloved tidewater rivers and creeks. After Ronnie’s death in February 2003, he relocated to Los Angeles to be close to family. He attended All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena and St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Hollywood, enjoyed his grandchildren, keenly followed developments in the church, kept abreast of the world through the New York Times and Facebook, and rooted for the Dodgers.

He is survived by his son David Groff and son-in-law Clay Williams; his son Jonathan Groff and daughter-in-law Martha Chowning; two grandchildren, Medora and Edwin; brother Joseph Groff and sister-in-law Margaret Groff; and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in celebration of Addison’s life and ministry be made to Episcopal Relief and Development.