Bishop R. William Franklin, the lifelong theologian and esteemed academic who was installed as the 11th Episcopal bishop of Western New York last spring, has 894 Facebook friends.
"That's a pretty good number," says the jovial Franklin during an interview at the diocese's Tonawanda offices. "My children say that I have more Facebook friends than they do."
But Facebook is just one of the modern media that Franklin uses to communicate with his flock. His personal website, rwilliamfranklin.org, includes links to email for comments, questions or prayer requests. Franklin writes longer pieces and appears in video chats on a popular blog, jerusalem-crossing.com, named for the Jerusalem Cross he has chosen as his bishop's cross.
And, just for fun, Franklin is also the star of an award-winning short film titled "Stair Dance," made when he was associate director of the American Academy in Rome to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the academy's main staircase.
Comments on the YouTube video of "Stair Dance," which has been watched by more than 3,380 people, include, "I still can't believe that, that is my bishop!!!!!" "Go Bishop! LOL," and "I think the whole Episcopal diocese of WNY has seen this ... hahahaha!"