The Rt. Rev. Frederick Houk Borsch, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, died yesterday morning of complications of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). He was 81 and died in his sleep at his Philadelphia home, his wife, Barbara, said. Memorial services are pending at St. Martin’s, Philadelphia, and St. Augustine by-the-Sea, Santa Monica. Expressions of condolence may be sent in care of the Cathedral Center (840 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles 90026).
Bishop Borsch was the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles from 1988 to 2002, and later served as interim dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University and Chair of Anglican studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He was a leader in the development of Spanish-speaking congregations, and was also founder of the Episcopal Urban Intern Program which later evolved to become the Episcopal Service Corps. While bishop of Los Angeles, he was known as an advocate for issues such as
environmental stewardship, and the living wage. He was also an advocate for full inclusion of LGBT+ persons in the life of the church; working with the Standing Commission on Human Affairs, he helped the General Convention of 1994 to include in the church’s canons sexual orientation in the non-discriminatory clauses for ordination.