The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Arthur Walmsley

Twelfth Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (1979-1993): Coadjutor, 1979-1981; Diocesan 1981-1993

Biographical/Historical Note:

Arthur E. Walmsley (B. A., B.D., M. Div., D.D., and D. Hum.) was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and attended Trinity College in Hartford. Graduating cum laude from the Episcopal Theological School in 1951, he was ordained a deacon that year, and priest in 1952 by the Rt. Rev. Arthur Lichtenberger, then of Missouri. Following his ordination, he served inner city churches in St. Louis for the next seven years. In 1958, he moved to the staff of the national Executive Council of the Episcopal Church as executive of the Division of Christian Citizenship, and later as Assistant Director of the Department of Social Relations, and Episcopal staff member of the National Council of Churches Commission on Religion and Race during the turbulent decade of the 1960’s. He later resigned staff functions when the General Convention Special Program was adopted favoring black leadership. He has the distinction of having been one of the architects of the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity and the National Conference on Religion and Race.

Subsequently, Walmsley served as priest-in-charge at Grace Church, Amherst, and Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, where he pioneered work in industrial mission, ecumenical dialogue, and inter-seminary cooperation. In 1972, he was named deputy to the rector of Trinity Parish, New York City, and a year and a half later he was called as rector of St. Paul’s Church, New Haven, where he also served as President of the Downtown Cooperative Ministry a cluster of center city churches.

Bishop Walmsley’s career spans a turbulent half century in the life of the Episcopal Church in the USA. He has devoted himself in particular to the church's mission in a rapidly-changing society, serving inner-city parishes and supporting a range of social ministries, including Episcopal Social Services, Integrated Refugee Ministries, Urban Bishops’ Coalition and pioneer work to HIV-AIDs sufferers. An abiding interest is the relationship of race and the Episcopal Church and the role of the Church in the civil rights movement. For a decade, he worked as a staff aide to three Presiding Bishops, and gave oversight to the church's social witness during the civil rights and Vietnam War struggles of the 1960s. In one capacity or another, he played an active role in other defining issues faced by the Episcopal Church - the revision of the Book of Common Prayer, the ordination of women, the selection of the first woman bishop. As Bishop of Connecticut from 1979-1993, he was chairman of the Council of Advice to Presiding Bishop Edmund Browning in emerging conflicts over the church's response to its gay and lesbian members. He was a member of the Ecclesiastical Court which ruled on the possible trial of Bishop Walter Righter in the ordination of a gay man. He has helped craft the Episcopal Church's response to the Millennium Development Goals as a defining thrust of global reconciliation in the Missio Dei, 1 He is a founding member of the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission, later organized as Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation, 2005.

His publications include The Church in a Society of Abundance (Seabury Press, 1963); numerous periodical contributions and papers; and the editorship of the daily General Convention newspaper, Issues, in 1970, 1973, and 1976. He coordinated the Anglican Symposium on Mission Theology in 1984 He has lectured in East and South Africa while on sabbatical there, traveled in Ecuador, China and Peru. He served on the Board of Trustees for Trinity College, General Theological and Berkeley Seminaries, and his achievements have been recognized with several honorary diplomas.

Living in his retirement years in New Hampshire, he has focused his energies on retreats and spiritual direction. In that ministry he served as Chaplain to the diocese as it selected its new bishop, V. Gene Robinson, in 2003. He also represented the Presiding Bishop in the religious leaders’ delegation to the Middle East in 2002.

1. The Whole Message Conference: Inclusiveness in the Anglican Church of Canada, April 13 and 14, 2007 p. 7 The Rev. Dr. Linda Privitera, Ottawa, Canada 2. Biographical Sketch, The Rev. Dr. Robert G. Carroon, Historiographer for the diocese, 1984-2004; Historiographer, 2014-

Collection Summary:

Creator:  Walmsley, Arthur E., b. 1928-2017   
Title and Citation: Walmsley, Arthur E., B. A., B.D., M. Div., D.D., D. Hum.,Rt. Rev., 1928-  Twelfth Bishop of Connecticut. Courtesy of the Archives of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, This series is part of Record Group 1: Diocesan Bishops (RG1-A12)
Dates:    Episcopate 1979-1993 [Bulk]
Extent:   62 cubic feet and oversize artifacts
Language:  English
Formats:  Manuscripts, documents, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, artifacts
Processed:  Margaret B. Smith and Patrick Walley
Scope and Content Note: This record group details the personal and professional life of the Rt. Rev. Arthur Walmsley, twelfth Bishop of Connecticut, his election and consecration, and Episcopal acts. The record group includes his early career, personal and professional correspondence, and his involvement in civil rights activities, photographs, artifacts, educational and professional achievements, biographies, and literary publications, among other historical and cultural documents. These files also contain published papers and sermons that are available to the public with the Bishop’s permission.
Archival Note: Papers of the bishops are subject to the “70-year” rule, leaving them unavailable for 70 years beyond retirement, unless approved by the Bishop. The exceptions are public writings (under copyright) and the permission of the bishop.

Collection Inventory:

  • Rt. Rev. Walmsley 'Drop Files' : Biographical, CV, picture files

  • Box 1: Walmsley\ Artificial Files, Biographical to Subjects or areas of interest and organizational memberships ("A - AL")

  • Box 2: Walmsley\ Artificial Files, Subjects ("AM - CH")

  • Box 3: Walmsley\ Artificial Files, Subjects ("CH - EL")

  • Box 4: Walmsley\ Artificial Files, Subjects ("EL - PR")

  • Box 5: Walmsley\ Artificial Files, Subjects ("RI - UR")

  • Box 6: Walmsley\ Artificial Files, Subjects ("VE - Z"), Official Acts, Sermons

  • Box 7: Walmsley\ Sermons, Publications, & Correspondence 1979-1981

  • Box 8: Walmsley\ Correspondence (1981-1993), Artifacts, and Original Subject Files ("A - ES")

  • Box 9: Walmsley\ Original Subject Files, 1983-1987 [arr. by creator]

  • Box 10: Walmsley\ Original Subject Files, 1988-1993 [arr. by creator] (inc. Parish Files and Sermons)

  • Box 11: Walmsley\ Original Subject Files, [arr. by creator] (inc. Liturgical Commission, Pastoral Letters, and Urban Bishops' Coalition)

  • Box 12: Walmsley\ Original Subject Files, [arr. by creator] (inc. Pan-Anglican Symposium, Church & City Conference, and South Africa Committee)

  • Box 13: Walmsley\ Original Subject Files, Convention Files, 1978-1993

  • Box 14: Walmsley\ Original Subject Files, Commission on Ministry & Diocesan Convention Files 1982-1992

  • Box 15: Walmsley\ Diocesan Convention 1978-1982, Clergy Conference, Ordinations & Homilies 1983-1987

  • Box 16: Walmsley\ Ordinands, Thornberg Case, House of Bishops

  • Box 17: Walmsley\ House of Bishops 1983-1989

  • Box 18: Walmsley\ Diocesan Commission & Standing Committee 1979-1993

  • Box 19: Walmsley\ Standing Committee 1989-1992 & General Convention ("Issues")

  • Box 20: Walmsley\ General Convention 1982-1988, Venture in Mission, Ordination of Deacons

  • Box 21: Walmsley\ Ordinations of Deacons & Priests -- Parish Files [Ansonia - Hamden]

  • Box 22: Walmsley\Parish Files, 1st Series\ Hartford, All Saints - Norwich, Church of the Resurrection

  • Box 23: Walmsley\ Parish Files, 1st Series\ Oakville, All Saints - Windsor, Grace Church

  • Box 24: Walmsley Parish Files, 1st & 2nd Series\ Winsted, St. James' - Yantic, Grace \ Ansonia, Christ - Bridgeport, St. Luke's

  • Box 25: Walmsley Parish Files, 2nd Series\ Bridgeport, St. Mark's - East Hartford, All Saints'

  • Box 26: Walmsley Parish Files, 2nd Series\ East Haven, Christ & Epiphany - Hartford, Trinity

  • Box 27: Walmsley Parish Files, 2nd Series\ Hartford, La Divina Providencia - New Canaan, St. Mark's

  • Box 28: Walmsley\ Parish Files, 2nd Series\ New Haven Ascension - Norwalk, St. Paul's

  • Box 29: Walmsley\ Parish Files, 2nd Series\ Norwich, Christ - Stamford, St. Francis

  • Box 30: Walmsley\ Parish Files, 2nd Series\ Stamford, St. John's - Waterbury, Greater Waterbury Episcopal Ministry

  • Box 32: Walmsley\ Alpha Chronological Files\ Correspondence & Organizations, "BOS - COM"

  • Box 31: Walmsley\ Parish Files, 2nd Series\ Watertown, Christ - Yantic, Grace \\ Alpha Chronological Files, Correspondence "A-BE"

  • Box 33: Walmsley\ Alpha Chronological Files\ Correspondence & Organizations, "COR - GEN"

  • Box 34: Walmsley\ Alpha Chronological Files\ Correspondence & Organizations, "GEN - INS"

  • Box 35: Walmsley\ Alpha Chronological Files\ Correspondence & Organizations, "INM - PIF"

  • Box 36: Walmsley\ Alpha Chronological Files\ Correspondence & Organizations, "PIT - WYL"

  • Box 38: Walmsley\ Original Beta Chronological Files [Submitted after retirement] - "CLE - MAR"

  • Box 39: Walmsley\ Original Beta Chronological Files [Submitted after retirement] - "MAS - WOR" with additional Confidential Correspondence Files

  • Box 40: Walmsley\ New Chronological Files [Submitted after retirement] - "ADE - VIS"

  • Box 41: Walmsley\ General Theological Seminary

  • Trinity College\ Board of Trustees

  • Walmsley\ Legal files re: St. Michael's/Trinity

  • Walmsley\ Legal files re: St. Michael's/Trinity