Phillip Grigsby

Calling hours

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Jones Funeral Home Inc
1503 Union Street
Schenectady, New York, United States
(518) 346-3881

Funeral service

10:00 am
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Emmanuel Friedens Church
218 Nott Terrace
Schenectady, New York, United States


Vale Cemetery
State Street
Schenectady, New York, United States
(518) 346-4369

Obituary of Phillip N. Grigsby

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Schenectady Rev. Phillip N. Grigsby also known as “Rev Phil”, 73, passed away Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at his home following a short illness. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, on November 28, 1947, he was the son of John W. and Juanita (Newman) Grigsby. His early life was spent in Hamburg, a town in the western part of New York State near Buffalo. After graduating from Hamburg High School in 1965, he attended Oberlin College, where he met his future wife, Jan. Phil and Jan married in May 1969, and spent the next two years serving in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Phil learned to grow rice and to build water supply systems. Returning to the US in summer 1971, Phil pursued his Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School and was ordained a minister in the United Church of Christ by the Rev. Henry Yordon. For the rest of the decade, Phil directed Christian Community Action, a New Haven nonprofit. In summer 1981, the couple moved to Davidson, North Carolina, and Phil began working for CROP-Church World Service developing CROP walks in the Carolinas. The Charlotte CROP Walk became the largest in the country. In 1986, they moved to Schenectady, where Phil began a 33 year tenure leading the Schenectady Inner City Ministry, now called Schenectady Community Ministries. Phil grew SiCM from 9 churches to over 50 area churches working together to assist the underserved population of Schenectady. A frequent presence at City Council meetings, Phil never shied from controversy and “speaking truth to power” on behalf of citizens whose voices are rarely heard. Collaboration with the larger Capital Area religious community was a persistent theme in his work. He was a core force in the founding of the Capital Region Theological Center in the early 2000s. In his spare time, Phil studied and taught the work of Father Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest he’d met and worked with at Yale. He and Jan were dedicated fans of Tanglewood to which they made annual pilgrimages to hear their favorites, James Taylor and Ludwig van Beethoven. An active member of Emmanuel Friedens Church, Phil chaired the church Council for several years. He leaves his wife of 52 years, Janet Grigsby; their sons Matthew and Christopher; a brother, Bill, and numerous nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM on Thursday, December 2 at Emmanuel Friedens Church, 218 Nott Terrace, Schenectady. Burial will follow at Vale Cemetery in Schenectady. Calling hours will be held from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Wednesday, December 1 at Jones Funeral Home, 1503 Union Street, Schenectady. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Schenectady Community Ministries, 837 Albany Street, Schenectady, NY 12301.
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