Trinity History

Rev. Chandler Corydon Randall, Fifteenth Rector of Trinity, 1971-1988

      The Rev. Chandler Corydon “Cory” Randall was born on January 22, 1935, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the
son of the late Frederick Stewart Randall and Leta Madeline (Snow). He grew up in Kalamazoo and in
Duluth MN, but he returned to Ann Arbor to atend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship.
Despite full time work and actie membership in Chi Psi, he somehow managed to carry a full load of
classes, earning an A.B. in History in 1957. He then studied for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at
Berkeley Divinity School (later part of the Yale Divinity School), obtaining an S.T.B. degree in 1960 and
later an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1985. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Crowley in
1960 and a priest in 1961.
       Randall met his future wife, Marian Archias Montgomery, while he was a seminary student at Yale and
she an undergraduate at Cornell. He was fond of recounting that story, telling over and over of the
moment when he walked across the room to introduce himself, feeling as though he’d been struck by
lightning, not even able to feel his feet on the ground, already certain that this was “the one.” He did
manage to get a date later that weekend, and they married on 2 July 1960, just days after his ordination.
Years later, when asked in a job interview for St. Peter’s, Del Mar, what his greatest asset was, he
responded, “My wife.” After sixty years of marriage, he was still eager to affirm that assessment.
      Following ordination, he and Marian moved to Cincinnati, OH, where he entered Hebrew Union - Jewish
Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, earning a Ph.D. in 1969. His time there gave him a deep grounding in
Old Testament studies and a strong sense of ecumenism between Judaism and Christianity. Between
1960 and 1965, he was curate of Grace Episcopal Church in College Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio, where
he served an apprenticeship under its rector, the Rev. LeRoy Hall. The latter insrilled in him an
appreciation for a lay-empowered parish and the so-called commission system, through which members
of the congregation had a voice in church governance. It would become the hallmark of his career. From
1964 to 1966 he was priest-in-charge of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Addyston, Ohio. He enjoyed his
work with the Cincinnati Community Action Committee during these years as well.
    Randall moved his family to Richmond, Indiana, to serve as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from
1967 to 1971, during which time he was an assistant professor of Old Testament Studies at Earlham
College. There, putting the lay ministry program in place, he increased attendance dramatically,
encouraged charismatic involvement in church work, and invited a variety of community groups to use
its facilites. Working in civil rights towards eliminating redlining was of particular importance to him.
     After earning a regional reputation as a reformer and leader, Randall received a call to become rector
of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne in 1971. As he had at Richmond, he transformed the ministry
of the church, creating commissions, inviting lay partcipation and women to serve on its vestry and
preach from its pulpit. He welcomed girls to serve as acolytes, and he opened the communion rail to all
baptized Christians, saying, “This is God’s altar; it does not belong to Episcopalians.” Randall worked to
build the endowments of the church. He entered the building on the National Register of Historic Places,
the first church in Fort Wayne to be so designated. He undertook two extensive restorations of the
structure. He invited Homebound Meals to have an office there, and he also hosted many guest lecturers
who helped initate many ministries, including healing services. He was also involved extensively in the
Diocese of Northern Indiana, chairing its Commission on Ministry from 1973 to 1987 and also serving in
Diocesan Council and the Greater Cathedral Chapter.
   During his time in Fort Wayne, Randall volunteered in many ways to the community. He served on the
Board of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Fine Arts Foundation, the University of Michigan Alumni
Association, and the Quest Club. He added to these duties by agreeing to serve as Commissioner of the
Fort Wayne Parks Commission, the Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Committee, the Indiana State
Judicial Qualifications Commission, and president of the Fort Wayne City Plan Commission. While on the
Parks board, he and others were instrumental in creating Johnny Appleseed Park and developing the trail
system known as the Rivergreenway. He insisted that the Ewing Street Bridge over the St. Mary’s River
be widened to allow for pedestrian traffic.
     In 1977, he was instrumental with others in founding Canterbury School, which met initially in the
classroom buildings of the church. His family recalls those early years as an exciting, challenging time
together; in fact, the 1979-1980 school year saw all three daughters in attendance and Marian on the
faculty, with Cory just around the corner in the office.
     In 1988, Randall left Fort Wayne to become rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar,
California, serving until 2000. While there, he led the expansion of its Parish Hall, and added a library,
nursery, and youth room. He and his wife retired to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he served as
Theologian-in-Residence at Christ Church Cranbrook before returning to Fort Wayne in 2013, becoming
Rector Emeritus of Trinity Church and teaching classes on the Old Testament.
      As a life-long enthusiastic supporter of the University of Michigan, Randall helped to recruit players
for its sports teams, later conducting both the second marriage and the funeral of his long-time friend,
Bo Schembechler. He was also an avid genealogist, a strong supporter of the Genealogy Center of the
Allen County Public Library, and he delighted in identifying distant cousins among his friends. For a time,
he served as national chaplain of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. He led many
pilgrimages to the Holy Land, had deep knowledge of its historic sites, and had friendships among the
Orthodox clergy and patriarchs there. He was also widely known within the national Episcopal Church for
his extensive circle of friends and contacts, his ecumenical work, and his leadership in implementing lay empowered
ministry in the parishes he served. When revisions were underway to the Book of Common
Prayer in the 1970s, he and another priest were responsible for reworking the language of the
Decalogue, especially the third commandment, “You shall not invoke with malice the Name of the Lord
your God.” He joked that he and God shared co-authorship.
      Randall died on April 18, 2021 in Fort Wayne and was survived by his brother Stewart (Emily), wife,
Marian, and by his three daughters: the Rev. Sr. Sarah Randall, SSM of Duxbury, MA; Elizabeth Delaney
(Patrick) of Fort Wayne, and Rebekah Randall of Mishawaka; four grandchildren, Corey, Carter (Sarah), Riley,
and Molley Delaney; two great grandchildren, Liam and CharloQe Delaney; and many nieces, nephews, and Godchilden. He was
preceded in death by his parents Frederick and Madeline, as well as his brother, Harry (Lillian).


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