Drew Theological School Mourns the Loss of Bishop William Boyd Grove T’54

“We celebrate Bishop Grove’s many accomplishments as an alum of Drew”

November 2023 – Drew Theological School is mourning the loss of Bishop William Boyd Grove T’54, who passed away on Friday, October 27. He was 94 years old.

Grove was a retired bishop in the United Methodist Church and the first Council of Bishops ecumenical officer.

He earned his Master of Divinity from the Theological School and his Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Grove was the 1997 recipient of the Theological School’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award, granted to alums who have exemplified extraordinary service to the University and community.

“The Drew community grieves the passing of our esteemed colleague Bishop William Boyd Grove,” said Theological School Dean Edwin David Aponte. “We celebrate Bishop Grove’s many accomplishments as an alum of Drew, not only within The United Methodist Church but also through his service to the worldwide church. Bishop Grove’s legacy includes the many Drew faculty and graduates whose lives he touched.”

He chaired the United Methodist delegations to the National Council of Churches, the Consultation on Church Union, and the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Harare, Zimbabwe.

In 1980, Grove was elected to the episcopacy by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference and was assigned to the West Virginia Episcopal Area until 1992. He was then assigned to the Albany, New York, Episcopal Area until he retired in 1996.

“Bishop Grove sent me to Drew, his alma mater, the University in the Forest,” remembered Heather Murray Elkins, Professor Emerita of Worship, Preaching, and the Arts. “He appointed me to ministry beyond the West Virginia hills. The uprooting was hard, but he and Mary Lou [Grove’s spouse] kept watch over me and mine.”

Grove is survived by his spouse, Mary Lou; his two daughters, Susan and Rebecca; and his four grandchildren.

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