July 31, 2019

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I write from sabbatical to invite your prayers of commendation for the soul of Linda Armstrong Chisolm, beloved wife of the Reverend Alan Laird Chisolm and for many years President of the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC) and General Secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC). Linda died at home in Nyack on July 24, 2019, surrounded by family, after living a few years with lymphoma.
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Linda attended Vassar College, where she met Alan as he was completing his seminary education and beginning his ordained ministry. They married in 1962, a few months after his ordination as priest, and together they went to Christ Church in Bronxville, where he served as Curate, and began a family. After about a decade of life and ministry in various parishes of our diocese, both Linda and Alan felt drawn to further education and new vocations. Alan became a psychoanalyst and area director for the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute, and Linda earned a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. In 1980, she began a career in higher education, first as Executive Assistant to the President of Rockland Community College, then, in 1985, at the AEC. During her tenure as AEC President (1985-2001), she founded, in 1993, and became the first General Secretary of the CUAC, a worldwide network of mutual flourishing in higher education across the Communion.
A pioneer of service-learning, Linda also co-founded and eventually became President of the International Partnership for Service-Learning, advancing the pedagogy of uniting, in higher education, academic study and substantive volunteer service abroad. She authored the book Charting a Hero's Journey , which taught college students the art of writing a journal while studying and serving abroad, and other books about service-learning. For her work, she was awarded four honorary degrees, three fellowships, and the National Service Award of Jamaica. This past March, she became the third recipient, and first from the Episcopal Church, of the CUAC's Distinguished Fellowship, with gratitude expressed in writing from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby for her contributions to the Anglican Communion. In this photograph (Photo credit: CUAC), Linda is pictured with the Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, D.D., the current General Secretary of the CUAC, receiving the Fellowship.

In her retirement, Linda combined a lifelong love of history and gardens, becoming a Master Gardener and teaching the history of landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden for nearly a decade. Last year brought her latest book, The History of Landscape Design in 100 Gardens.

Linda's funeral will be held at Grace Church in Nyack on Monday, August 12, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Canon Callaway will preside, and preaching will be the Rev. Richard L. Gressle, retired Rector of Grace Church, where Linda served on the vestry, designed a new garden, and led an enhancement of the parish's columbarium.

To Alan; their daughters Eleanor, Margaret, and Kathryn; and their wide family, I extend my sincere condolences. Gifts in Linda's memory may be made to the Grace Church Columbarium Fund, 130 First Avenue, Nyack, NY 10960; Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, 815 Second Avenue, New York NY 10017; or GIFFORDS, a law center and political action committee whose mission is to prevent gun violence, P. O. Box 51196, Washington DC 20091. Notes of sympathy may be sent to Alan at home: 209 South Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960.

Please remember our sister Linda in your prayers and at your altars, and pray also for Alan and all who mourn. With every good wish, I remain,

Dietsche sig

 The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
Bishop of New York