The Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. Royal Grote, Jr., died in his sleep in the early hours of the morning on Thanksgiving Day. He was 70 years of age. He had reportedly been in ill health for a number of years.
Presiding Bishop Grote was elected to the office of President of the Reformed Episcopal Church in 2014. He had previously served as the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Missionary Bishop of the Special Jurisdiction of North America, and Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Mid-America. He was for several years a lecturer at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the chancellor of Cranmer House in Houston, Texas, where he was also a lecturer on dogmatic theology.
Presiding Bishop Grote was one of a new generation of leaders in the Reformed Episcopal Church, who sought to steer that denomination away from the Evangelical Protestant principles of its founders into what they viewed as “the mainstream of Anglicanism.” As a result the Reformed Episcopal Church has become more Anglo-Catholic in its doctrine and practices.
The Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton, Vice-President of the Reformed Episcopal Church and Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Mid-America, will assume the responsibilities of President of the Reformed Episcopal Church and Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Mid-America.
The Reformed Episcopal Church was established in 1873 by the Rt. Rev. George David Cummins, Assistant Bishop of Kentucky, and a group of conservative Evangelical Episcopalian clergy and laymen who had become disaffected from the Protestant Episcopal Church over the spread and growing influence of Anglo-Catholicism in that denomination. Branches of the Reformed Episcopal Church were subsequently established in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Following World War II the Reformed Episcopal Church sought a reconciliation with the Protestant Episcopal Church. Due to the increasing liberal direction of the Episcopal Church, this effort was abandoned. In the early twenty-first century the Reformed Episcopal Church entered into merger talks with the Anglican Province of America, a Anglo-Catholic Continuing Anglican jurisdiction. In 2009 the Reformed Episcopal Church became a founding entity and sub-province of the second Anglican Church in North America.