Episcopal bishops in the 1980s were already used to urgent calls from journalists seeking comments on issues ranging from gay priests to gun control, from female bishops to immigration laws, from gender-free liturgies to abortion rights.
But the pace quickened for Bishop William Frey in 1985 when he was one of four candidates to become presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. A former radio professional, Frey was known for his bass voice and quick one-liners. His Lutheran counterpart in Colorado once told him: “You look like a movie star, sound like God and wear cowboy boots.”
Other Denver religious leaders sometimes asked, with some envy, why Episcopalians got so much ink.
“I can’t understand why some people want the kind of media attention we get,” he told me during one media storm. “That’s like coveting another man’s root canal.”
A Texas native, Frey died in San Antonio on Sunday after years out of the spotlight. In addition to his Colorado tenure, his ministry included missionary work in Central America during the “death squads” era and leading an alternate Episcopal seminary in a struggling Pennsylvania steel town.