Bishop John M. Allin, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) from 1973 to 1985, died March 6, at the age of 76, after suffering a stroke while undergoing cancer treatment. Bishop Allin served as head of the Episcopal Church during a turbulent period that included both the ordination of women as priests for the first time and revision of the Book of Common Prayer.
As well as tackling such divisive issues under Bishop Allin’s leadership, the church also embroiled itself in social issues, often taking unpopular stands. Former presiding Bishop Edmund Browning said Bishop Allin “commanded respect from quarters that differ greatly because he reached out to listen and respond. His heart led him into issues, and I know there were some social issues he spoke out very bravely on.”
Bishop Allin was bishop of the diocese of Mississippi from 1961 to 1973. He was often characterized as socially progressive but theologically conservative. He opposed the ordination of women, but was conciliatory during the controversy over women’s ordination in the 1970s.