Connecticut Elects Rowthorn Suffragan

Episcopal News Service. May 21, 1987 [87115]

HARTFORD, Conn. (DPS, May 21) -- The Diocese of Connecticut, at a special convention May 16, elected the Rev. Jeffery W. Rowthorn, a native of Wales and a musician with a background in Russian and Arabic studies, as suffragan bishop.

Rowthorn succeeds the Rt. Rev. W. Bradford Hastings, who retired in December, and joins fellow Suffragan Bishop Clarence N. Coleridge. He will have oversight of the eastern half of the state. He was one of five candidates presented by the diocese's episcopal election committee, with several others, including two women, being nominated from the floor. The diocesan bishop is the Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley.

Born in Newport, Gwent, Wales on April 9, 1934, Rowthorn has been, since 1980, Bishop Percy Goddard Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Yale and Berkeley Divinity Schools. He is the first to hold that chair and also the first chapel minister at Yale Divinity School, directing a staff of eight and overseeing the daily worship. He teaches courses in the history and practice of worship, hymnody, liturgy and society and liturgical renewal. A member of St. Peter's on the Hill in Hamden, he has been canonically resident in the Diocese of Connecticut since 1976.

Rowthorn served in the Royal Navy from 1952 to 1954, during which time he studied Russian at the University of London and qualified as an interpreter. In 1957, he graduated from Cambridge University with honors in Russian, German, Persian and Arabic. He spent the 1957-58 academic year at the University of Teheran on an Iranian government scholarship. He attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship and received his M.Div. magna cum laude in 1961. In 1972, he earned a B.Litt. from Oxford University.

Ordained deacon in 1962 and priest a year later in the Diocese of Southwark, he served parishes in London and Oxford from 1962 to 1968. During this time, he was also a lecturer at Cuddesdon Theological College and represented the British Council of Churches on the theological commission of the Christian Peace Conference.

In 1968, Rowthorn was called to Union Theological Seminary in New York to initiate a new ministerial training program. He was also appointed the first seminary chaplain and served as dean of instruction directing the M.Div. program. In 1973, Rowthorn was appointed associate professor at Yale and Berkeley and was a founding faculty member of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

As a seminarian, Rowthorn spent three years at a multi-racial church in West Harlem, and he has been interim priest in Diocese of Long Island and a summer priest for parishes in Vermont and Maine. He has been chaplain and lecturer at the Evergreen Music Conference in Colorado. He is a member of the Connecticut Diocesan Music Commission and of Committee II of the Commission on Ministry. For two years, he was co-chairman of the Connecticut Diocesan Festival of Renewal Committee, which was responsible for the diocese's bicentennial celebrations.

Rowthorn has edited Laudamus: Services and Songs of Praise (1980) and compiled The Wideness of God's Mercy: Litanies to Enlarge Our Prayer (2 vols., 19R5). He is co-editor of the forthcoming revision of The Hymnal for Colleges and Schools (Yale University Press) and is the author of hymns published in several denominational hymnals, including two texts in the Hymnal 1982.

In 1963, Rowthorn married historian Anne Wheeler (currently coordinator of the New Haven Deanery). They have three children.