George E. Packard
George Elden Packard was elected Fifth
Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Services, Healthcare and Prison
Ministries at a meeting of the House of Bishops in San Diego,
California on September 28, 1999. He was consecrated on February
12, 2000 at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul,
Washington, DC. Bishop Packard was born on February 23, 1944 in
New Rochelle, New York. He was graduated from Hobart College,
Geneva, New York in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
He enlisted in the Army soon after college, where, as an infantry
officer he served in Vietnam with the First Division. This time
was marked by his receiving the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars
release from active duty, Bishop Packard continued to serve in
the Army Reserves while attending Virginia Theological Seminary
where he earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1974. In June
of that year he was ordained a deacon, and in December he was
ordained a priest. Virginia Theological Seminary conferred an
honorary Doctor of Divinity upon him on October 24, 2000. He served
parishes in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia and for ten years
at Grace Church, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, before becoming
the Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of New York in 1989.
He returned to the parish ministry in 1995, serving at the Church
of the Epiphany, New York City and Christ's Church, Rye, New York.
to his parochial and diocesan duties, Bishop Packard served as
a chaplain in the Army Reserves, having made a branch transfer
from the infantry after ordination. In this capacity he had a
variety of assignments from chaplain to a hospital ward for communicable
diseases, to a field hospital, to a deployed unit in Egypt. During
the Gulf War, he was assigned to the Pentagon and later was decorated
for his participation in a team for the pastoral care of casualties.
In 1995 and again in 2000 Bishop Packard continued the efforts
of his predecessor, Bishop Charles L. Keyser, by visiting Russia
in the support of the new chaplaincy in the Russian military.
Since his consecration on 12 February 2000, Bishop Packard has
traveled extensively to meet and greet chaplains throughout the
world. This knowledge served him well when the tragedy of September
11th occurred. It meant that the “100 Days of Mission Support”
declared by his office in response to the event could call on
talent well-known and matched to the needs of the crisis. That
“Support Mission” by his office included briefings to all clergy
in the 13 dioceses directly affected by that terrible day, organizing
and scheduling chaplains for the NYC site, liaison with the Pentagon
effort, and providing solace and counseling to persons at the
Church Center as well as general support to any other development.
Prior to the drama of September 11th, the bishop convened a leadership
conference of senior military chaplains at the National Cathedral
in Washington, DC followed six months later by a similar “Formative
Symposium “ for healthcare professionals. He is quoted as saying
that another true highlight during these two years was his first
confirmation service at Angola Prison in Louisiana and eating
Thanksgiving dinner at the Marion Correctional Institution in
is married to Brook Hedick, a musician and Christian educator
and together they have one daughter, Clara. Bishop Packard has
two daughters from a previous marriage: Helen, an associate editor
for a church periodical and Cleary, a college student.
Bishop Packard was elected Fifth
Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies for the National Episcopal Church
in 1999. A native of New York State, he served in various churches
in the Episcopal Diocese of New York prior to his election. As
Bishop Suffragan, his home base is the National Episcopal Church
Center in Manhattan, although he travels worldwide to meet with
chaplains. For September 11th efforts, he and his office served
as the liaison for relief work at Ground Zero. He and his family
reside in Westchester County. For more info: check www.episcopalchurch.org/chaplain.