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The Right Reverend C. Kilmer Myers

The Right Reverend C. Kilmer was associated with St. Augustine’s from 1952 to 1960 as  vicar,   He  gained wide attention for his work in combatting juvenile delinquency, dope addiction, racial prejudice and other social problems on New York’s lower east side. He wrote Light the Dark Street, published in 1961, which tells  some of the individual stories of a Black lower east side gang members as well as the conditions in the community that created the gang.

The book content is available in the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The feature picture is from a book signing.

Below is his obituary from (Episcopal News Service. July 9, 1981)

Bishop Myers Dies at Age 65

SAN FRANCISCO — The Rt. Rev. C. Kilmer Myers, retired Episcopal Bishop of California, died June 27 at the University of California Hospital here. He was 65 years of age and had been hospitalized for more than a week.

Myers succeeded the Rt. Rev. James A. Pike as Bishop of California, a diocese that now covers the San Francisco Bay area, in 1966 and served until his retirement for health reasons in 1979. He made his home in Healdsburg, Calif.

Myers was an early and outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and was a crusader against racism and government corruption. In 1971 he announced to the diocesan convention that he opposed the ordination of women as priests, though he voted in favor in the crucial vote at the 1976 General Convention when women’s ordination was approved.

While Myers was bishop of the diocese, the jurisdiction extended along the central coastal region of California from Marin County on the north to San Luis Obispo County on the south. The diocese divided in 1979 and the Diocese of El Camino Real was formed to the south of the San Francisco Bay area.

Myers was born in 1916 in the village of Schuylerville, N.Y. He majored in sociology at Rutgers University where he graduated with a B.A. degree in 1937. He received the S.T.B. and S.T.D. degrees from Berkeley Divinity School. He pursued graduate study at Yale and taught church history at Berkeley. Rutgers awarded him the honorary L.H.D. degree in 1962.

He taught at General Theological Seminary and later served at Grace Church in Jersey City, N.J., and Trinity Parish, New York City. In 1963 he became the first director of the Urban Training Center for Christian Mission in Chicago.

In 1964 he was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of Michigan and remained in that post until his election in 1966 as sixth Bishop of California.

Myers was the author of Light the Dark Streets, Behold the Church and many articles which appeared in religious periodicals.

He and his late wife, Katie Lea Stewart, adopted three children, Jonathan, Albert and Laura, who survive him.

A requiem mass was offered on July 1 at Grace Cathedral here.


photo at a signing of his book Light the Dark Streets- published in January 1956 while he was Vicar of St. Augustine's of Hippo Church.