About Us - Assisting Bishop - Bp. Keyser

The Right Reverend Charles Lovett Keyser

Bishop Keyser, Assisting Bishop of Florida

Charles Lovett Keyser was consecrated as the fourth Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces on March 24, 1990 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Washington, D. C. The Most Reverend Edmund L. Browning Primate and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church was Chief Consecrator, with Bishops Cerveny (Florida), Lee, (Virginia), Witcher (Long Island), Burhgreen, and Hobgood (retired Bishops Suffragan for the Armed Forces) as Co-Consecrators.

From 1954 to 1960 Bishop Keyser served in the Diocese of Florida (Holy Cross and St. Timothy's, Jacksonville) and was ordained deacon on June 24, 1954 and priest February 15, 1955 by Bishop Frank Juhan, Bishop of Florida. In 1960 he answered a call to active Naval service as an Episcopal Chaplain and served until 1986. During the early years of his Naval service, assignments included Naval surface and sub-surface units, Naval air units, Fleet Marine Force units, and Training Commands. From June of 1969 to July of 1970 he served with the Fifth and First Marine Regiments in Vietnam where he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat Distinguishing Device. Promoted to the rank of Captain in 1973, he was assigned as Staff Chaplain and Training Officer for the Navy Chaplain Corps. Additionally he served as Fleet Chaplain to the Commander, U. S. Naval Forces Europe and Command Chaplain for the Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, Virginia, where he retired from active Naval Service. During his military service, Bishop Keyser was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award: the Meritorious Service Medal; Combat Action Ribbon (USMC Device); Navy Expeditionary Medal and various other medals, citations and campaign ribbons.

Upon his naval retirement, he entered the Diocese of Virginia having been called as rector of the Washington and Montross parishes in the Virginia countryside where he remained until his consecration.

Bishop Keyser's wide ranging responsibilities as Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces included all Episcopal chaplains and lay persons in the Uniformed Service both here and abroad as well as Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In 1994 the Bishop was appointed by the Presiding Bishop for The Missionary District of Micronesia and in 1995 began extensive work with the Russian Orthodox Church as they re-established their chaplaincy for the military services.

During the Bosnian conflict Bishop SAVA (Bishop for the Armed Forces for the Russian Orthodox Church) and Bishop Keyser had an historic meeting between bishops of the West and East as together they visited the military forces of both nations, a visit which included common prayer time, reflection, and the fellowship of a meal in which prayers and toasts were offered to their respective nations and their common Lord.

Subsequent to the Bishop's retirement on 29 February, 2000, as Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces, the Keysers returned home to Jacksonville, Florida, where they now reside. Since "the retirement" the Bishop has done consultant work in parochial conflict resolution: served for six months as Dean Pro Tem at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans; as Bishop, Assisting, The Diocese of Montana from August 2001 - September 2003; and Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Georgia 2003-2006. He has been the Assisting Bishop for the Diocese of Florida since January 1, 2007. 

Bishop Keyser was married August 6, 1956 to Christine D. Crutchfield of Jacksonville, Florida. They have four grown children: Charles L. Jr., Christine Keyser-Ball, Catherine H. and Caroline B. (deceased) and eight grandchildren.

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