R. William Franklin was elected Bishop of Western New York on November 20, 2010 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo. He was consecrated as bishop on April 30, 2011. He is the 1057th bishop in the succession of bishops in The Episcopal Church, which is itself rooted in the historic succession of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
Bishop Franklin was serving as the Senior Associate Priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, PA, a position he had held since July 2010, at the time of his election. Prior to this, he worked for five years in Italy where he was an Associate Priest at St. Paul’s Within the Walls in Rome. While in Italy, he also served as Associate Director of the American Academy in Rome, a Fellow and Associate Priest of the Anglican Centre in Rome and Vicar of the Church of the Resurrection in Orvieto.
Earlier in his career he was Dean of Berkley Divinity School at Yale. He was also a professor at General Theological Seminary and at St. John’s University in Minnesota.
Bishop Franklin was born in Brookhaven, MS, on January 3, 1947. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Church History from Harvard.
In the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe Franklin served as a member and as president of the Council of Advice and as a member of the leadership team and Weaver for Transformed by Stories Christian Formation Program in the European Institute of Christian Studies.
As a member of the laity he served in the Diocese of Minnesota on the Standing Committee and as Chairman of the Board of the Episcopal House of Prayer Retreat Center.
For the National Church he served on the Standing Commission on Ministry Development and as Chair of its Theological Committee, the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, and was appointed a Consultant to the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He and his wife, Carmela Vircillo Franklin, who is a scholar in medieval studies at Columbia University have been married since 1971. They have two adult daughters.
Bishop Franklin was one of two presenters at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of St John's Abbey Church in Collegeville, MN in October 2011. View the hour-long video presentation of the event, including the very interesting Q&A follow-up session.