PRESENCES by Paul Moore


A Bishop's Life in the City
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 An autobiography by Moore (Take a Bishop Like Me, 1979), erstwhile Episcopal bishop of New York City, social activist, and father of nine. Born in 1919, Moore was the youngest of four children in a wealthy Yankee family, with a remote father and a loving but frail mother. His childhood was spent shuttling between the family's New Jersey home, an apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, and a summer residence in Palm Beach, Fla. Following family tradition, he boarded at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, where he was drawn to High Church spirituality and had a profound experience of God's presence when he first went to confession. In 1937, again following family custom, he went off to Yale, and when war came he joined the marines. Wounded while serving in the Solomon Islands, he was sent home, and married and studied for ordination at New York's General Theological Seminary, where he was influenced by such luminaries of the time as Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr. After ordination, he began expressing a commitment to civil rights, forming close personal and financial links with the NAACP, and worked to change the orientation of the Episcopal Church toward social action. In 1963, he became suffragan bishop of Washington, D.C., where he wielded influence on the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Subsequently, as the bishop of New York, Moore was a leader in agitating against the Vietnam War. He also worked to admit practicing gays and lesbians to the ranks of the Episcopal clergy and advocated for recognizing the plight of the homeless. Moore writes well, sharing his private thoughts with the reader and offering brief but moving details of his family life. Very much a '60s figure, Moore comes to guilt naturally over his wealthy upbringing and his church's social elitism--and he handles the guilt graciously. A revealing portrait of this controversial and influential Anglican. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-374-17567-5
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1997