William Lawrence (bishop)

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The Right Reverend
William Lawrence
Bishop of Massachusetts
Bishop 2949636532 a6a80123e0 o.jpg
William Lawrence (between 1910 and 1915)
Church Episcopal Church
Diocese Massachusetts
In office 1893–1927
Predecessor Phillips Brooks
Successor Charles Lewis Slattery
Personal details
Born March 30, 1850
Milton, Massachusetts
Died November 6, 1941 (aged 91)
Milton, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Parents Amos Adams Lawrence and
Sarah Elizabeth Lawrence
Spouse Julia Lawrence (d. 1900)
Children 5
Alma mater Harvard University
Harvard Divinity School

William Lawrence (March 30, 1850 – November 6, 1941)[1] was elected as the 7th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (1893–1927). Lawrence was the son of the notable textile industrialist Amos Adams Lawrence and a member of the influential Boston family, founded by his great-grandfather and American revolutionary, Samuel Lawrence. His grandfather was the famed philanthropist Amos Lawrence.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lawrence was born on March 30, 1850 in Milton, Massachusetts. He was the son of Sarah Elizabeth Appleton (1822–1891) and Amos Adams Lawrence (1814–1886), a notable textile industrialist, and a member of the influential Boston family, founded by his great-grandfather and American revolutionary, Samuel Lawrence. His grandfather was the famed philanthropist Amos Lawrence.[1]

He graduated from Harvard College, as was the tradition in his family. He earned his Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1897. In 1910, he was honored with a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from Harvard presented by his cousin and then president of Harvard, A. Lawrence Lowell.[1]

Career[edit]

Lawrence is best known for founding the church pension system. He was also known as "the banker bishop" because his fund-raising drives "invariably developed with Midas-like magic."[citation needed] The financier J. P. Morgan, Jr. served as treasurer of the Church Pension Fund from its founding in 1918.

While bishop emeritus, Lawrence was involved in an effort to proposition a new Book of Common Prayer to the Church of England. Also, while in retirement, he realized the need for a chapel at Massachusetts General Hospital and in the late 1930s, as the White Building was under construction, convinced of the importance of faith and spirit in healing, he sent over fifteen hundred hand-written letters to friends of the hospital asking for their support "in this bit of pioneer hospital work."[citation needed] Over eight hundred people of all faiths responded.

He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1899.[2] In 1926, Lawrence published his autobiography, Memories of a Happy Life. Several of his sons, following in his footsteps, also became bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Famous quote[edit]

The "banker bishop" is quoted as having said, "In the long run it is only to the man of morality that wealth comes... We, like the Psalmists, occasionally see the wicked prosper, but only occasionally. Godliness is in league with riches.”[citation needed]

Legacy[edit]

Lawrence was married to Julia Cunningham (1853–1927),[3] the daughter of Frederic Cunningham and Sarah Maria (née Parker) Cunningham.[3] Together, they were the parents of:[1]

Lawrence died on November 6, 1941 at the age of 91 in Milton, Massachusetts.[1][7][8]

References[edit]

Works[edit]

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Phillips Brooks
7th Bishop of Massachusetts
1893–1927
Succeeded by
Charles Lewis Slattery
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
William G. McAdoo
Cover of Time Magazine
14 January 1924
Succeeded by
Henry Cabot Lodge