Third Bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee from Feb 27, 1999 to June 25, 2011.
The Rt. Rev. Charles Glenn vonRosenberg was ordained third bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee on Feb. 27, 1999, succeeding the Rt. Rev. Robert Gould Tharp, who retired March 1, 1999.
Born in Fayetteville, N.C., on July 11, 1947, Charles vonRosenberg graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a bachelor of arts in 1969. In 1973 he married Annie Jones, a native of Alexandria, Va. The vonRosenbergs have two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.
He earned his master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1974. Early in his episcopate, the University of the South’s School of Theology awarded him an honorary doctor of divinity.
Ordained as a priest in 1975, he served as rector/vicar of four small churches in and around Bellhaven, N.C. He was vicar and rector of churches in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina from 1976 until 1989. In 1989, he became the canon to the ordinary of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, where he served until 1994, when he accepted a call to be rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington, N.C.
While rector of Church of the Resurrection, Greenwood, S.C., vonRosenberg served three years as chairman of the World Mission Program Group for the Diocese of South Carolina. As canon to the ordinary, he served as diocesan staff resource person for that group. Through his involvement with the program group, he organized and led mission trips to Haiti.
He served as president of the church-wide Jubilee Advisory Board, on the Benefits Research Advisory Committee of the Church Pension Fund, as well as on the Legislative Committee of the Church Pension Fund for several General Conventions. As a priest, he was elected as a clerical deputy to the 1991 General Convention in Phoenix and the 1997 General Convention in Philadelphia and also served on the national Commission of Diocesan Executives.
As a bishop, vonRosenberg served in the House of Bishops, and ex officio on the board of trustees of the University of the South. He was also was elected to the university’s board of regents. Bishop vonRosenberg also served as president of the Board of Governors of Episcopal Appalachian Ministries. He attended two Lambeth Conferences – the once-a-decade gathering of the world’s Anglican bishops – in and 1998 and 2008.
At the 2008 Lambeth conference, vonRosenberg participated with other bishops in a “Walk of Witness” through central London to draw attention to the Millennium Development Goals, which target poverty reduction around the world.
Much of Bishop vonRosenberg’s twelve year tenure was during time of war, economic stress and natural disasters in the country, and turbulent times in the life of The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Communion, with controversy in some segments of the Anglican Communion about the ordination of women, and controversy in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion regarding issues about Church acceptance and ordination of those of different sexual orientations. With his measured approach and focus on reconciliation and relationship, Bishop vonRosenberg encouraged acknowledgement of the diversity among people that contributed to building a spirit of openness in the diocese. He initiated a Bishop’s Committee on Inclusivity in 2009, whose mission was to seek discernment, pray, plan and work toward inviting reasonable and holy conversations on same gender relationships.
Early in his tenure, Bishop vonRosenberg oversaw the purchase of 269 acres on Watts Bar Lake for a diocesan camp and retreat center. The Camp and Retreat Center was subsequently named “Grace Point,” a name submitted by members of the diocesan Youth Action Council. Construction of “tree house” dormitories for campers and a rocking chair porch on the camp Commons Building were completed in 2004 and 2007. In 2009, funds contributed by St. Paul, Chattanooga, were used to build St. Paul’s Chapel at Grace Point which bears Bishop vonRosenberg’s name on its cornerstone. Called “the living room of the diocese,” Grace Point Camp and Retreat Center is a treasure of the diocese, and efforts continue to expand and develop the resource.
A strong proponent of the “ministry of the baptized,” vonRosenberg hired, in 2003, a full-time staff person devoted to building shared ministry and congregational development within the diocese.
Throughout his tenure as bishop, vonRosenberg maintained a priority on pastoral sensitivity and responsiveness, especially to clergy, their families and churches.
From 2013 to 2016, vonRosenberg served as bishop provisional of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
The vonRosenbergs currently reside in the Charleston, South Carolina.