Lowell Grisham

Church leader leaves legacy

Posted: November 5, 2017 at 1 a.m.

"St. Paul's is an incredibly gifted congregation with leadership and a passion for ministry and wonderful gifts, and all I had to do was to say, 'Y'all just go and do what you're called to do.' My formula for leading a congregation has been pretty simple: 'Everyone has gifts -- what are yours?'" -- The Rev. Lowell Grisham

As the Rev. Lowell Grisham sits in the back yard of his beautiful home in Fayetteville, Murphy and Lovie -- his family's tiny spitfire dogs -- mill about his feet. Grisham absent-mindedly strokes the head of Murphy as he talks about stepping down as the Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, a job he has had for 20 years.

Through Others’ Eyes

“Working with Lowell is one of the singular privileges of my life. He has the energy and charm of a 3-year-old. the mischief of an adolescent, the integrity and competence of an adult, and the wisdom of a tribal elder. His tears spring readily whether with empathy with someone else’s suffering, in the joy of worship, and with the humor he manages to find in so much of the world around him. As a mentor he has taught me to take mission and ministry seriously and myself very lightly.” — The Rev. Suzanne Stoner

“Lowell’s zest for living is obvious in the ways he conducts Sunday services. After a Sunday school sermon he always makes time for a parishioner or two who want to talk. Then he will race to the back of the church where acolytes, choristers and other priests are already arrayed, his legs churning and feet skidding around the corner to line up for the procession into the sanctuary. Every year when he follows the procession out after the celebration of Pentecost, you can see how he delights in waving the long red streamers over the congregation.” — John Duval

“Lowell makes all that approach him feel appreciated, his spirituality inspires, and his steering the church into serious outreach has made St. Paul’s a vibrant, living, loving and caring community. His persona has led to sustained and impressive growth in members. He has grown the church’s mission by welcoming all and encouraging all to become active members. Under his guidance, St. Paul’s has become the lodestar Episcopal Church in Arkansas.” — Bill Clark

Next Week

Brinda J. Jackson

Little Rock

This story is only available from our archives.