Trinity Episcopal Church of Fredonia welcomed the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York on Sunday, Oct. 23. The Right Reverend R. William Franklin administered the rite of Confirmation in an afternoon service. He was assisted in the service by Archdeacon Gerry Hilfiker, Deacon Cathy Smith and the Rev. Robert Arnold, rector of Trinity.
The confirmands were Kirsta Wheelock, Graciela Rey and Autumn Mosier. During the service, the bishop invited their families to come forward and participate in the laying on of hands.
The bishop commented that he was partial to college towns for the distinct atmosphere of learning and culture it brings to a community. Before becoming a priest, Bishop Franklin spent much of his vocation as a professor of theology and church history at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and five years at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. He went from there to become the president of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
After ordination to the priesthood, he accompanied his wife, Carmela, who was appointed director of the American Academy in Rome, Italy, as he worked with the bishop and Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Europe, a diocese of the church made up of five Western European countries and as an academic fellow at the Anglican Centre in Rome. Before being elected as Western New York's 11th bishop, Bishop Franklin was the senior associate priest at St. Mark's Church in Philadelphia. Mrs. Franklin, who accompanied the bishop, currently holds a distinguished professorship of Latin at Columbia University in New York City.
Following the service, a reception was held in Garland hall where the confirmands were congratulated by the congregation.