[Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee] The Rev. Reynolds Smith Cheney II, longtime General Convention deputy and Convention committee chair, died July 10 after a lengthy illness.
He served for six years as a member of the Executive Council and chaired the State of the Church Committee at General Convention. He took particular satisfaction in coining the expression “the cutting middle” to describe the work of The Episcopal Church in this nation and around the world.
Known for his love and commitment to the church, Reynolds was an insightful theologian, preacher and teacher. To these gifts for ministry, he brought both critical insights and a ribald wit. He served as a mentor and friend to the many persons who over the years served as his clergy associates and curates and to all who were blessed and entertained to be in his wide circle of friends.
Cheney was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1936 and received a bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College. He attended Episcopal Divinity School and was ordained as deacon by Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray in 1961 and priest by Bishop John M. Allin in December of that year. Cheney served in the Diocese of Mississippi at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Kosciusko; St. Mary’s Church, Lexington; Grace Church, Carrollton; St. Michael and All Angels, Amory; St. John’s Church, Aberdeen; Church of the Redeemer, Greenville, and St. James Church, Greenville. In The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, Cheney served as rector of Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis from 1981 to 2001, when at the time of his retirement he was the senior clergy member in the diocese.
In 1999, Cheney married his wife, Stephanie, a leader herself in the Episcopal Church, having served as lay canon for diocesan administration and finance for the Diocese of West Tennessee, as a member of the Executive Council of the church and currently as a member of the diocesan Standing Committee. Cheney is also survived by his children and grandchildren, who knew him simply as “Big Daddy.”
Bishop Don Johnson, recalling Cheney with deep respect and fondness, invites all to join in remembering Reynolds, Stephanie and their family with prayer and affection. The requiem Eucharist will be offered July 31, at Church of the Holy Communion, Memphis. Visitation will be in Cheney Parish Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the service will begin at 2 p.m., with interment following.