William Frey (bishop)

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William Carl "Bill" Frey (born 1930 in Waco, Texas) served as missionary bishop of the Episcopal Church (United States) for the Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala and later as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. As of 2015 he is in retirement in the Hill Country of Texas.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1956 in the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. He holds a BA in Spanish and a minor in French from the University of Colorado, and a Master of Divinity from the Philadelphia Divinity School.[1]

He became a missionary in Latin America in 1962 and was consecrated as missionary bishop of the Diocese of Guatemala in 1967. In 1971 he and his family were evicted from that country for making public statements about peacemaking during an undeclared civil war.[2] He was elected as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Colorado in 1972 and then installed as bishop of the diocese the following year. During that time there was a dispute over the use of the Episcopal Church's revised Book of Common Prayer; Frey seized St. Mark's Church, Denver by downgrading it from a parish to a mission, citing what he described as an inflammatory article by the church's pastor as proof that the priest intended to secede from the diocese, which the priest denies. This was reported to be apparently the first time an Episcopal parish had been dissolved in the United States in a dispute over forms and rites of worship.[3]

In 1990, after 18 years in Colorado, he resigned as bishop to become the dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.[4] He stepped down as dean in 1996 and moved to the San Antonio region in Texas to retire, but remained active in ministry. After the resignation of Bishop Jeffrey N. Steenson, Frey was asked to be assisting bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.[5] During his time as assisting bishop of Rio Grande he debated Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. What was billed as a debate, with Frey representing traditional, orthodox Christianity, took place on December 12 of 2009. Some conservative observers were disappointed by Frey's lack of willingness to press Jefferts Schori on her former statements that called into question basic tenets of Christianity, like Jesus' resurrection from the dead.[6]

He also served as interim rector of Christ Church, San Antonio.[7]

He is currently a member of Communion Partners, an Episcopalian group which opposed the 77th General Episcopal Convention's decision to authorize the blessing of same-sex marriages in 2012.[8] The measure to allow the blessing of same-sex unions won by a 111-41 vote with 3 abstentions.

His wife Barbara died in 2014. They had five adult children, two of whom are priests of the Episcopal Church. He wrote The Dance of Hope (2010) and Cancelada: Why They Threw us out of Guatemala (2012), in which he tells in more detail about his family’s eviction from Guatemala.


  1. ^ Miller, Duane Alexander (January 2015). "Entrevista con Bill Frey, primer obispo de la diócesis Episcopal de Guatemala". Misionología Global. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  2. ^ Frey, William (2012). Cancelada--why they threw us out of Guatemala. Amazon Digital Svces. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  3. ^ Peterson, Iver (May 15, 1984). "CONSERVATIVE PARISH DEFIES A BISHOP ON REVISED EPISCOPAL PRAYER BOOK". New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Bishop Quits Colorado for Eastern Seminary". Religious News Service. October 28, 1989. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  5. ^ Schjonberg, Mary Francis (March 11, 2008). "RIO GRANDE: Standing Committee chooses William Frey as assisting bishop". Episcopal News Service. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  6. ^ Virtue, David (Dec 15, 2009). "Orthodox Bishop Drops Ball in "Debate" with Episcopal Presiding Bishop". VirtueOnline. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Welcome". Christ Episcopal Church.
  8. ^ "Communion Partners website" (PDF).