The 90th Birthday of The Rt. Rev. William B. Spofford, Jr.
A capacity congregation gathered on Sunday, January 30, for the 10:00 am Eucharist at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in Portland to honor the life and witness of The Rt. Rev. William B. Spofford, Jr., upon the occasion of his 90th birthday.
Born January 28, 1921 and consecrated bishop on January 25, 1969, Bishop Spofford’s ninety years have known forty two-years of episcopacy, including terms as the 4th Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Washington and Bishop-Chaplain at St. George’s College in Jerusalem.
The two homilists for this special service were The Most Rev. Edmond Lee Browning, the 24th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and The Rt. Rev. Rustin R. Kimsey, the 5th Bishop of Eastern Oregon. Each in turn expressed deep gratitude for Bishop Spofford’s exemplary prophetic and pastoral leadership in the Episcopal Church and recognized his profound impact on the lives of individuals.
In a deeply moving tribute, Bishop Browning read from Pilgrim in Transition, Bishop Spofford’s poetic reflection on his time as Bishop-Chaplain at St. George’s College.
During his homily, Bishop Kimsey said that Bishop Spofford was “fearless in his leadership for us and for Christ…and I think his effectiveness as a bishop was essentially because he believed that the Body of Christ…you and me…can face into any issue and if we are prayerful enough, and if we talk enough, and if we are hopeful enough…nothing will separate us one from another…and even more important we will be the agents of justice and compassion Christ intends us to be.” For the complete text of Bishop's Kimsey's homily, click here.
Near the close of the service letters of greeting were read. These included tributes from The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, The Rt. Rev John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington, The Rt. Rev. Michael J. Hanley, Bishop of Oregon, and The Rt. Rev. Sanford Hampton, Assisting Bishop of Olympia, retired.
Calling his ministry “deep, wide, and legendary,” the Presiding Bishop wrote, “Your prophetic witness in all you have done continues to stir us all to holier action.”
Bishop Chane noted that Bishop Spofford had exhibited through his writings and preaching a “deep love of poetry and theatre, while at the same time speaking out on issues of social justice, equality and peace.”