The Rev. Elizabeth (Beth) Frank, a faithful and effective advocate for global mission, died unexpectedly on 21 January 2022.
Beth had recently begun serving as interim rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Painestown in the Diocese of Ohio. She was a member and supporter of GEMN, attended several GEMN conferences, and was currently serving as vice chair of the Standing Commission on World Mission (SCWM). She was active with the Diocese of Ohio companion relationship with Belize and served as chair of the diocese’s Commission on Global and Domestic Mission. She was a diocesan trustee and a trainer with Safe Church.
As vice chair of SCWM, Beth initially led the commission’s work to prepare resolutions to present to General Convention. She then led a process for reviewing resolutions from other interim bodies to look for opportunities for collaboration and support. She nurtured a productive relationship among GEMN, SCWM and the Office of Global Partnerships which led to the development of the Global Mission Digital Toolkit and ongoing collaboration. She was a strong advocate for the translation of church materials into languages of the church other than English.
Beth graduated from Bexley Hall Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood on St. Nicholas Day, 2013. She specialized in interim ministry and served several congregations in the Diocese of Ohio.
Prior to ordination, Beth had a successful and varied career as an attorney and non-profit leader. She worked as director of special olympics for the Potomac Region, deputy director and acting director of enforcement with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity within HUD, and a trial attorney with the US Department of Justice. She earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve, where she edited the Journal of International Law. Her undergraduate degree was from Princeton University, including a certificate in East Asian studies.
Members of SCWM gathered online to pray and give thanks for Beth’s ministry. They remembered her as a determined organizer who worked joyfully to accomplish the group’s goals. The Rev. David Copley, director of Global Partnerships and Mission Personnel for the Episcopal Church, said, “I don’t remember a time when Beth has not been a voice for mission in a positive way. She spoke up when other voices needed to be heard.”
Deacon Judy Quick from the Diocese of Alabama and chaplain to SCWM affirmed, “Her legal mind was such a gift. Many of our resolutions are the result of her work. She was passionate about leading the church to carry out the work of Jesus in the world.”
Dr. Grecia Reynoso from the Diocese of the Dominican Republic recalled, “Beth was always willing to help. She always greeted everyone with that joy and welcome.” Martha Gardner, chair of SCWM, said, “She devoted so much time to this work. It was always about mission and the church.”
The Rev. Grace Burton-Edwards, secretary of GEMN and a member of SCWM, said, “Beth was one of those wonderful people who work quietly behind the scenes to accomplish great work for the Church.” The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler, president of GEMN, commented, “Beth’s commitment to the church’s global mission was a mainstay and an inspiration. We are grateful for her collaboration with GEMN, and we will miss her.”
A funeral service will be offered on Saturday, 5 February 2022 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio. A live stream of the service will be available via the Cathedral’s website, www.trinitycleveland.org.