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Death of former Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Edmond Lee Browning

Posted on: July 12, 2016 9:47 AM
Bishop Edmond L Browning, who died yesterday (Monday) at the age of 87, was the Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church between 1986 and 1997.
Photo Credit: The Episcopal Church

[ACNS] The former Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Edmond L Browning, died yesterday (Monday) at the age of 87, the Church’s Office of Public Affairs has announced. Bishop Browning served as Presiding Bishop between 1986 and 1997. His election to the post was seen as a reflection of the Church’s broadening diversity due to his extensive international and multi-cultural experience.

“The Episcopal Church is faithfully seeking to truly become, ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as Jesus said quoting the Hebrew prophets, and that is greatly the case because Presiding Bishop Browning taught us that the church must be a place where there are no outcasts,” the current Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, said. “That enduring legacy is still helping to set many a captive free.

“It is evidence that God is not finished with us yet, for every once in a while spiritual giants still walk among us as living reminders. And one of those reminders was Edmund Lee Browning, 24th Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. Well done good and faithful servant. May you rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Other former Presiding Bishops also paid tribute. Bishop Browning’s immediate successor, Frank Griswold, was consecrated in the same year that Browning was elected to the Presiding Bishop post. “During the 12 years that followed, I had the opportunity to work closely with him, particularly as a member of the committee that planned the twice-a-year meetings of the House of Bishops,” he said.

“What particularly struck me in all aspects of his ministry was his trusting and compassionate heart open to all. For him, the mission of the church was to uphold the dignity and worth of each person within the reconciling embrace of God's inexhaustible love. He did so not without great personal cost.”

And Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th Presiding Bishop, said: “Edmond Browning brought vast experience to his role as Presiding Bishop, from his early ministry in Texas, to his labours as a missionary in Okinawa, his love of the ‘Ohana of Hawai’i, and his pastoral care of the Convocation of Churches in Europe.

“His ministry was marked by care of the outsider and marginalized wherever he went. He stewarded the union of Okinawa with the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, he insisted there would be ‘no outcasts’ in The Episcopal Church, he drew Hawaiian and European congregations closer to their contexts, and he maintained a passionate care for the plight of Christians in the Land of the Holy One.

“He gave his all, and it cost him dearly. We can only echo what he is nearing now: Well done, good and faithful servant. You have loved all those entrusted to your care with a passion like that of Jesus. Rest from your labours in the arms of the One who loves you beyond imagining.”