Pennsylvania Elects Suffragan

Episcopal News Service. July 28, 1988 [88165]

The Rev.Lindsay J. Hardin , Diocese of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (DPS, July 28) -- The Diocese of Pennsylvania elected its first black bishop in 204 years on Saturday, June 17, at the Church of the Savior in Philadelphia. Elected suffragan bishop was the Rev. Franklin D. Turner, currently assistant to the Bishop of Pennsylvania for congregations.

As second-in-charge of the diocese, Turner, 52, will assist Bishop Allen Bartlett. He will share with him the pastoral care of clergy and their families and work with clergy in their personal and professional growth. Turner will also work with many of the 169 parishes in the diocese and take leadership in areas yet to be determined.

Turner was elected late in the afternoon on the eighth ballot. A total of nine candidates were in the running, including a woman from Maine, the Rev. Nancy Van Dyke Platt who, if elected, would have been the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Out of some 900 men who have been elected bishop in the Episcopal Church nationwide, Turner will be approximately the 27th black to assume such a post. The first black priest in the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Absalom Jones, was ordained in Philadelphia in 1804.

Before coming to Pennsylvania in 1983, Turner served as staff officer for black ministries for eleven years at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City. There he assisted in congregational development of black parishes, served as an information officer, and developed networks for the support of black ministries throughout the country. Prior to that work, he served parishes in Washington, D.C. and Texas.

A resident of Wyncote, Penn., Turner is a graduate of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He is married and the father of three children.

The Diocese of Pennsylvania is composed of 80,000 baptized members and covers the city of Philadelphia and the following counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.