Episcopal News Service. November 8, 1991 [91222P]

Dr. Joseph F. Fletcher, widely known for his provacative book Situation Ethics, died of cardiovascular disease on October 28 at the age of 86. Although Fletcher was ordained an Episcopal priest and taught for a while at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the late 1960s he renounced his belief in a supreme being and converted to humanism. Fletcher argued in Situation Ethics, published in 1966, that the circumstances surrounding any particular act were indispensable elements in considering the act's moral appropriateness. He was also know for his ground-breaking contributions in the field of biomedical ethics, and was a proponent of euthanasia and genetic engineering. A lifelong social activist, Fletcher had the dubious honor of being dubbed "the Red Churchman" by Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Korean War era.

The Rt. Rev. George Lazenby Reynolds, bishop of the Diocese of Tennessee since June 1985, died on November-3 after suffering an aneurysm. Carl Gilliam, diocesan information officer, said that Reynolds, 64, would be remembered as one who "wanted us all to bring Sunday into all the days of theweek." A native of Alabama, Reynolds formerly served as rector of St. Stephen's Church in Edina, Minnesota. He received a master of divinity degree from Virginia Seminary in 1954 and a doctorate from New York University in 1970. A dozen bishops of the Episcopal Church, as well as Roman Catholic Bishop James Niedergeses and approximately 50 Episcopal clergy, participated in the Requiem Eucharist at Christ Church, where the Reynolds family were members. "Our bishop had a vision... of a new colony of Christians serving each other, where neither rank nor race would rule... where all who mourn would be comforted...," said the Rev. Henry Myers, who delivered the eulogy. Diocesan officials report that the diocesan council and standing committee will meet on December 10 to discuss options, such as calling an interim bishop until a new bishop is elected.

The Rev. Nathan Baxter has been nominated to serve as dean of the Washington (D.C.) Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul by Bishop Ronald Haines. If elected by the cathedral chapter, Baxter, 42, would become chief pastor of the cathedral, oversee a $6 million budget, and have responsibility for more than 200 staff members, 900 volunteers, and 23,000 National Cathedral Association members throughout the country. Baxter, a former dean and associate professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is currently administrative dean and associate professor of pastoral theology at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "I am excited to become a part of an institution that can have both a prophetic and a healing ministry," Baxter said in an interview. "A significant voice often missing from the public arena is the religious voice, and the cathedral has the stature to enable that voice to be present. The church doesn't have all the answers, but the absence of that voice means the issues cannot be solved as effectively."

Patriarch Bartholomew I, formerly known as Metropolitan Bartholomew of Chalcedon, was installed on November 2 as the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world's 200 million Eastern Orthodox Christians. Bartholomew, 51, had been the chief adviser to his predecessor, Patriarch Dimitrios I, who died at age 77 on October 2. The new patriarch is fluent in English and six other languages, and accompanied Patriarch Dimitrios during an extended visit to the United States in July 1990. Long active in international religious affairs, Bartholomew also headed the Orthodox delegation to this year's World Council of Churches General Assembly in Canberra, Australia.