|History | Seabury-Western Theological Seminary|
|Bishop Charles Palmerston Anderson: A History|
Bishop Charles Palmerston Anderson: A History
Bishop Charles Palmerston Anderson, whose body was disinterred April 30, 2010 from the chapel at Seabury-Western Seminary that bears his name, was among the most influential figures in the seminary’s history. He revived Western Seminary in 1905 after it had been closed for a year, helped steer Seabury-Western to its current site, and one of the seminary’s largest scholarship funds was established in his honor.
“In his 25 years as Bishop of Chicago, and his all-too-brief tenure as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Charles Anderson demonstrated a passion for the Gospel and a deep love for Seabury-Western,” said the Rt. Rev. Jeff Lee, Bishop of Chicago. “He guided this seminary through some difficult times without ever losing faith in its future, and his example inspires those of us who follow in his footsteps.”
Bishop Anderson and his wife Janet are being relocated to their family’s compound in Northern Wisconsin, at the request of Northwestern University, which purchased the seminary complex from Seabury-Western in July 2009, and now rents a portion of it back to the seminary.
The Andersons, their children and grandchildren have also played an important role in Seabury Western’s history, donating more than $300,000 to the seminary. Their largest contributions created the $250,000 Bishop Charles Palmerston Anderson Scholarship Fund.
“Scores of Seabury students have benefitted from the generosity of Charles and Janet Anderson and their family, and scores of others will,” said Robert Bottoms, the seminary’s interim dean and president. “We are profoundly grateful for all they have done, and continue to do.”
Bishop Anderson, a native of Ontario, became rector of Grace Church in Oak Park, Ill., in 1891. He was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Chicago in 1900, and became the diocesan bishop five years later. Youthful and energetic, he was such a popular figure that the consecration had to be moved from the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul to Anderson’s former church in Oak Park, which was larger.
During his episcopacy the diocese grew and agencies such as the Cathedral Shelter, Chase House, Lawrence Hall, and Youth Guidance were founded. On the anniversary of his consecration, the Rev. Charles L. Street, said in a sermon, “To him the love of God meant the doing away with poverty and ugliness and social injustice and reconciling warring industrial groups and national groups.”
Bishop Anderson was elected Presiding Bishop in October, 1929, but held that office for only three months before dying of coronary thrombosis on January 30, 1930. According to his wishes, his remains were buried in the Seabury chapel, which had just been completed, and his wife Janet was buried there in 1948.
“Most of Seabury’s living alumni spent three years praying three times a day in the chapel where Bishop Anderson and his wife Janet were buried,” said the Rev. Elizabeth Butler, a Seabury graduate who is now the seminary’s vice president. “He was a significant spiritual presence in our lives, and I would like to think that he would be pleased with the work we are doing to keep Seabury at the forefront of theological education.”
See photos of Bishop Anderson here. On May 18, 2010, Seabury held a Holy Eucharist to celebrate the ministries of BIshop and Mrs. Anderson and to commemorate the time that their remains rested at Seabury. See photos from that service here, and download the program here.