Biography of Rt. Rev. Edward L. Parsons
San Francisco, CA Biographies





RT. REV. EDWARD LAMBE PARSONS
One of the foremost church dignitaries of the Pacific coast is the Rt. Rev. Edward Lambe Parsons of San Francisco, who is the bishop of the California diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church and a man of great influence and prominence in religious affairs.

Bishop Parsons was born in New York city, May 18, 1868, and is a son of Arthur Wellesley and Helen Clement (White) Parsons. In 1889, he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from Yale University. In 1892, he graduated at the Union Theological Seminary, and from 1892 until 1894 he was a fellow at the University of Berlin in Germany. In 1894, he graduated from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bishop Parsons has been twice the recipient of honorary degrees for his excellent service in his church. The Pacific Theological Seminary conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity degree in 1914, and in 1924 Yale University likewise gave him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In 1894, Bishop Parsons was a deacon in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and in 1895 became a priest. During these two aforesaid years, he was assistant at Grace Church in New York city, and then from 1896 until 1900 was rector of Trinity Church in Menlo Park, California. In 1900-04, he was rector of St. Matthew's Church in San Mateo, California, and during the period from 1904 until 1919 served as rector of St. Mark's Church in Berkeley, California. In the latter year he was elected bishop coadjutor of the diocese of California, and on the death of the late Bishop William Ford Nichols, in 1924, became bishop, which is his present high office. He is widely known as an authority on theology, and by both the spoken and written word he has carried his teachings to others. From 1897 until 1902, he was an instructor in philosophy at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and he has been a lecturer on the philosophy of religion in the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Under his regime, there is now under construction in San Francisco the Grace Cathedral Church, which will be one of the most pretentious and valuable church edifices in the United States. Bishop Parsons was delegated in 1927 from the Protestant Episcopal Church to attend the World Conference of Faith and Order in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a trustee of St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, of the Deaconess' Training School of the Pacific, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Mills College and other institutions. His beneficent services have been extended to many other affairs in the city aside from his church, and his efforts have constituted an important factor in the work of various welfare agencies. When San Francisco was struggling to obtain a footing after the terrible fire of 1906, Bishop Parsons was chairman of the relief committee in Berkeley, and in 1917-18 he was chairman of the war work council.

On May 18, 1897, Bishop Parsons was united in marriage to Miss Bertha de Forest Brush, of New Haven, Connecticut. Four children have been born to their union, namely: Arthur Wellesley, Harriet Trumbull, Helen Clement, and Loraine de Forest, the last named now being deceased.

One of the greatest hobbies in Bishop Parsons' life is his devotion to welfare work. Wherever it has been possible, he has labored to help his fellowmen, and to ease the cares of unfortunate people. He has been exceedingly democratic in his attitude toward the citizens of San Francisco and of California, and holds the esteem and affection of all with whom he has come in contact. Gardening and hiking are favorite recreations of Bishop Parsons. He is a member of the University Club of San Francisco.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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