The sudden death of the Revd. Richard Pumphrey as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident has deprived the Apostolic Episcopal Church of one of her most effective priests.
Charles Richard Pumphrey was born in 1947 in Evansville, Indiana. Strongly traditionalist in his beliefs, his advocacy of traditional Anglicanism was of a piece with a worldview that he saw as defending a threatened Western civilization. He graduated with an Associate of Arts degree with a major in Bible from Freed Hardeman College in 1967 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and History from David Lipscomb College, Tennessee, in 1969, also studying for a year at Memphis Theological Seminary. In 2003 he received the degree of Master of Theology in Pastoral Counseling from Campbellsville University, Kentucky.
Faced with the modernist changes in the Anglican Communion that became particularly visible towards the end of the twentieth-century, he initially joined the Orthodox Anglican Church. This church was founded as the Episcopal Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of America by Episcopalians in 1963, and was not originally a “continuing Anglican” body, but in 1999 a decision was taken that it would orientate itself to a greater extent with the Continuum, with its name changing to the Orthodox Anglican Church in 2005. He was ordained deacon in 2001 and priest in 2002 by that church’s presiding bishop, the Most Revd. Scott McLaughlin. In 2002, he received the degree of Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from St Andrew’s Theological College and Seminary of the Orthodox Anglican Church, and then served that seminary as a professor between 2002 and 2008. He also undertook pastoral charges as associate priest of Holy Apostles, a Bolivian ministry in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (2004-06), and student chaplain to Ephraim McDowell Memorial Hospital in Danville, Kentucky (2003). He also served as chaplain to his local fire department for several years.
In secular life, he worked in the field of insurance, and was latterly Senior Field Representative for the Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company.
In April 2008, faced with declining opportunities for ministry in the OAC, he was received into the Anglican Catholic Church, one of the Continuing Anglican churches that derived from the 1977 Congress of St Louis, and was inducted as celebrant at All Saints, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. He was advanced to Rector of that church in May 2010.
Later that year, he became interested in the opportunities for ministry in the Ecclesia Apostolica Divinorum Mysteriorum, a new communion of the Apostolic Episcopal Church that had been formed with a specific mission towards the inner and contemplative traditions. He was received by incardination into EADM from the ACC in December 2010 and subsequently licensed as a priest in the Apostolic Episcopal Church in February 2015. He was further admitted to membership in the First Class of the Order of Antioch and to membership of the Order of Corporate Reunion.
He was married five times, lastly in 2012 to Tricia, who survives him. Their marriage was close and resulted in a loving home life. One interest they shared was the raising of chickens. By his first marriage he had two daughters, Jennifer and Rebecca, and with his fourth wife he adopted Stephanie. He was also a foster parent and between 2002-07 he served as Chairman of the Washington and Marion County, Kentucky, Foster Care Review Board and as a member of the Interested Party Review Board.
Richard Pumphrey was passionate about making a difference to the world around him. He was politically engaged in what he believed was a struggle for the survival of Western civilization and the Christian values that were at its heart. He advocated for the American Freedom Party and, via social media, was a frequent commentator on political and social issues. In all of this, he avoided any suggestion of bigotry or hatred and grounded his commentary in sound religious principle, careful research and a genuine regard for his community. He also displayed a sense of humour that made his writings accessible and invited others to share his world and the deeply-held values that illuminated it. One of the most significant roles that he took on was as a mentor to young people interested in Traditional Anglicanism.
Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with his widow Tricia and his family.
Memory Eternal! Memory Eternal! Memory Eternal!