Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III, longtime former rector of Trinity Church, dies at 72

An Episcopal priest for nearly four decades, including two terms as rector of Trinity Church in Boston, Reverend Lloyd guided parishioners through joys and sorrows, including the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and of the Boston Marathon bombings, which were so close he heard them while reading in his office.

Reverend Lloyd died Aug. 31 in hospice care at his daughter’s home in Nashville from complications from sarcoma. He was 72 and in retirement had moved with his wife, Marguerite, to Sewanee, Tennessee, to be closer to their children.

“He made things very accessible, rather than remote. And often used literature and poems to illustrate what he was trying to say,” said Bishop Frank T. Griswold, a longtime friend who had served as the 25th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church nationwide. .

As a spiritual leader and teacher, Reverend Lloyd had the “ability to read the scriptures as revelatory and also to read novelists and poets as revelatory in their ideas,” Griswold said.

At Trinity, Reverend Lloyd’s leadership was measured in two terms – from 1993 to 2005 and from 2011 to 2017, when he retired.

In the meantime, he served as Dean of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., a prestigious appointment during which he co-presided over former President Ford’s funeral in 2007 and delivered opening remarks at the service. January 2009 prayer service following the inauguration of President Obama.

During his first leadership at Trinity, membership grew by about 25% and annual donations increased almost fivefold, to $3.2 million.

“The stewardship numbers are still flashing on the page – $100 million in 15 years,” wrote the Reverend Morgan S. Allen, Trinity’s current rector, in a tribute on the church’s website about the two terms of Reverend Lloyd’s leadership. “But more than the transformation of our historic campus; more than turning the gears that would become the Trinity Boston Foundation and, in time, Trinity Boston Connects; Sam’s ministry has synergized this congregation in experiencing our God working in the congregants,” Allen wrote.

Reverend Lloyd accomplished this through multiple roles as priest, teacher and preacher – the calling medium attuned to an academic background that included a doctorate in English.

The Reverend Martin B. Copenhaver, a longtime friend and former president of Andover Newton Theological School, wrote in an email that “the preacher’s art has been likened to taking bills of large bills and to break them into coins small enough for people to use. That was Sam’s gift. He could plumb the depths of Christian theology in all its complexity, but then he could present it clearly and convincingly.

For Reverend Lloyd, however, preparing sermons has never been easy.

“I don’t freak out on Wednesday night anymore wondering what I’m going to say on Sunday,” he told the Globe in 2000, his seventh year as rector at Trinity, but still, “Sunday turns more than inspiration. .”

Born in Brookhaven, Mississippi on June 24, 1950, Samuel Thames Lloyd III was the second of six children.

His mother was Marie Anne Spivey Lloyd and his father, Samuel Jr., was an Air Force lawyer, which meant the family moved around in different military assignments.

Rev. Lloyd graduated from Canton High School in Mississippi and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi.

He later served as a staff officer in the Air Force, stationed in Virginia, and began graduate school while in the military, eventually earning a master’s degree in English literature from Georgetown University. , a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Virginia, and an M.A. in Divinity. from Virginia Theological Seminary.

After serving as assistant to the rector and chaplain at St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, and teaching at the University of Virginia, Reverend Lloyd served as rector at St. Paul & the Redeemer in Chicago and chaplain at the ‘University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, before moving to Trinity in Boston.

He met Marguerite McCain when she was in college and he was in graduate school. They married in 1976. She was a lawyer and, for the past decade, an executive search consultant at Carney, Sandoe & Associates.

“He had such an inquisitive mind and a real curiosity and a desire to probe beneath the surface of life to get to the heart of what ultimately matters,” she said.

After her husband’s death, in conversations with those who knew him well, “people almost invariably, almost to one person, mentioned his kindness,” she said. “It seems to me that’s a trait we shouldn’t underestimate in this hectic world we live in.”

At Trinity, Reverend Lloyd offered leadership and spiritual healing following the 1995 death by suicide of Episcopal Bishop David E. Johnson.

Rev. Lloyd was also there for thousands of people who worked downtown or lived in Boston and regularly gathered at Trinity to pray after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

And a few nights after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Reverend Lloyd joined Trinity parishioners to pray outside on Boylston and Berkeley streets, next to a makeshift memorial of flowers and signs .

“My job as a pastor is to make sure people are in touch with the depth of God’s presence at a time like this,” he told The Globe.

A service was held for Reverend Lloyd, who, in addition to his wife, leaves behind their daughter, Cooper of Nashville; their son, Gabriel of Clarksville, Tennessee; three sisters, Aletha Burge and Lucy, both of Gulfport, Miss., and Susan Lloyd Stokes of Clemson, SC; and one brother, Lewis of Mountain View, Ark.

“No one leaves listening to one of his sermons without learning something new, important and exciting,” John Shenefield, former chairman of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, wrote in the preface. from “National Cathedral Sermons: Polls for the Journey,” Reverend Lloyd’s 2013 collection. “His enthusiasm for what he teaches is palpable and contagious.”

Reverend Lloyd referred to his sermons as “sounding”, invoking in his introduction “the ancient practice of measuring the depth of water by plunging a weight at the end of a line into the unseen waters below”.

Each sermon, he said, was “meant to be such a sound, using the weight of word, image and story to plumb the unseen depths of our lives.”


Bryan Marquard can be reached at br[email protected]

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