An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Griffith, David

(1742-Aug. 3, 1789). Missionary and early leader of the Diocese of Virginia. He was born in New York City. Griffith went to England to study medicine and returned to New York to begin his practice in 1763. He went to England to be ordained. Griffith was ordained deacon on Aug. 19, 1770, and priest on Aug. 24, 1770. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) appointed him missionary to Gloucester County, New Jersey. At the end of 1771, he took charge of Shelburne Parish, Loudon County, Virginia. He continued at Shelburne Parish until May 1776, when he entered the Army as Chaplain to the Third Virginia Regiment. He resigned his Chaplaincy in 1779, and became the rector of Christ Church, Alexandria, in 1780. He served there until his death. Griffith was instrumental in organizing the Diocese of Virginia in 1785. He was a clerical deputy to the 1786 General Convention. He was president of the House of Deputies, June 22-Oct. 11, 1786. On May 31, 1786, Griffith was elected the first Bishop of Virginia. It was expected that he would go with William White and Samuel Provoost to England for consecration. Monetary difficulties made this impossible, and he resigned as bishop-elect on May 6, 1789. Griffith died in Philadelphia while attending the third General Convention.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.