Seminary Names Otis Charles Dean

Episcopal News Service. June 6, 1985 [85122]

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (DPS, June 6) -- The board of trustees of the Episcopal Divinity School has announced the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Otis Charles, Bishop of Utah, as dean. The call came upon a unanimous vote of the trustees at a special meeting on May 9, following the unanimous recommendation of the faculty that Charles receive tenured appointment as professor of pastoral theology.

Charles succeeds the Very Rev. Harvey H. Guthrie, Jr., who last year submitted his resignation to the Board effective June 30, this year. Guthrie has served as dean since the school's establishment in 1974 through the merger of the Philadelphia Divinity School and the Episcopal Theological School. He joined the faculty of the Episcopal Theological School in 1958 and served as its dean from 1969 to 1974. Guthrie and his wife, Doris, will be moving this summer to Ann Arbor, Mich. where he has been called as rector of St. Andrew's Church.

In accepting the call as dean, Charles commented: "I am excited about being a part of the Episcopal Divinity School team, and I look forward to working with the trustees and faculty in the development of the school toward service for the entire Church. Episcopal Divinity School is distinguished by its reaching to express the liberating grace of the Gospel and by its vision of lay and ordained ministers formed in the prophetic spirit of justice and mercy. Joining my ministry with the ministry of Episcopal Divinity School is a rare privilege for which I am deeply grateful. I can think of no greater challenge, no larger opportunity, no fairer enterprise, than preparing women and men for 21st century leadership in church and society."

Charles has been Bishop of Utah for 14 years. He was the first bishop elected to serve in Utah by the diocese -- and led in the process of diocesan development and organization. He supported and participated in the establishment of Navajoland as a separate and independent mission of the Episcopal Church. Under his leadership, the diocese has worked to organize alternative forms of ministry, interparish partnerships and cooperative ecumenical efforts. He has particularly supported the goal and program of Total Ministry.

As Bishop, Charles has fostered Episcopal involvement in many community and ecumenical concerns, including the organization of the first Utah hospice, opposition to the MX missile, cost-effective health care, housing for elderly and handicapped citizens, and advocacy for minorities, women, the handicapped poor and unemployed.

As a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission from 19731982, Charles participated in the development of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and served as chairman of the Standing Liturgical Commission from 1979-1982. He holds memberships on the Boards of the Episcopal Urban Caucus and the Episcopal Church Publishing Company.

Born in Norristown, Penn., Charles received his B.A. degree from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., in 1948. He received the Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree (1951) and the Doctor of Divinity degree (1983) from General Theological Seminary, N.Y. Most recently, he has been participating in a Master's Degree program in Spirituality at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb.

Charles' considerable experience in parish ministry began in St. John's Church, Elizabeth, N.J. He then served as priest-in-charge of St. Andrew's Church in Beacon, N.Y., where he led the process of integrating the formerly all-white parish through the development of a house-to-house, person-to-person ministry. From 1959 until 1967 he served as rector of St. John's Church in Washington, Conn. His administrative experience also includes positions as executive secretary of the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission (1968-1971) and associate director of the Roman Catholic Ecumenical Center (1968-1969).

Charles is married to Elvira Latta, and they have five grown children. Charles and his wife will be moving to Cambridge at the end of August. After attending the General Convention in Anaheim as Bishop of Utah, Charles will then assume his full-time responsibilities as dean.