Friday, July 25, 2008

On a personal note

It is Friday morning in Canterbury and I'm taking some time-out from focusing on things Anglican to focus on things personal.

Yesterday my brother Bill called from California with the news of the sudden and most unexpected death of my mother -- Betty Lou (Bundy) Brown -- who died in her sleep in her Minnesota home on Thursday, July 24th.

She would have been 83 on August 19th and while she had a history of heart problems was well enough on her last week on earth to do one of the things she loved best: playing Bingo at the Elks Lodge.

We were blessed to have her as long as we did (she had triple bypass surgery in 1992) and I am feeling particularly grateful today that we had a good, long visit with her over the holidays last year. (Here's Betty surrounded by kids and grandkids last November on Thanksgiving Day.)

It was another particular delight to me that she and Louise had the opportunity to form a close, loving relationship ...

... and my sons will both be blessed throughout their lives to have had a Grandma who loved them and challenged them to be all they could be. Here she is with my younger son, Brian, also on Thanksgiving ...

... and here with Jamie, home on leave from the Army in 2006.

When asked how she handled my "coming out," Betty famously said that she was a lot less surprised to find out I was a lesbian than she was that I was called to be a priest. She was both proud and supportive of my work and ministry -- even when we sang those dreadful "unfamiliar hymns."

Her presence at our wedding in February 2006 was a blessing to all of us ...

... and my feelings today are that the best tribute I can pay to her life and love and support is to continue with the work we are doing here at Lambeth Conference -- to continue to challenge our Anglican family live up to the Christian Family Values my mother didn't just talk about but lived.

[The Brown family ... circa 1959]
Arrangements are, as they say, "pending" -- but we anticipate a Memorial Service in early August in her hometown of Alexandria, Minnesota. Thanks to all who have sent prayers and messages of condolence. I feel very embraced and enfolded not only by your love and care but by God's -- and by the promise we claim in our Lord Jesus Christ that life is changed, not ended.
Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord;
And let light perpetual shine upon her.

May her soul, and the souls of all the departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen


it's margaret said...

God bless you Susan.

May all the Saints and Angels greet her.

And may you be held in that peace which passes all understanding.

Chris said...

I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's death. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory.

David said...

What a fine tribute to a very beautiful human life.

You, Louise and the rest of your family have my love and prayers

'May her soul, and the souls of all the departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen'

Amen indeed!


Wayne said...

Susan, my heart goes out to you. May she rest in peace with the beloved saints of God -- and may you find some comfort in that.

Padre Wayne

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Oh, Susan....

Prayers ascending for you, Louise, your children, and all who loved your wonderful mother. May the Holy Spirit surround you and comfort you all.

And prayers of thanksgiving for your mother's life and the wonderful example she set of unconditional love. May the memories of that love strengthen you in the days to come and give you peace.


Jim said...

A remarkable woman who has a remarkable family. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Prayers for her and her family are ascending.


Bruno said...

Susan, Louise,

Our love and prayers are with you and your family.

Bruno and Jerry

Yankee_Fan_At_Fenway said...

Once again, thank you for sharing this tribute to your mother and for the wonderful photos. My prayers are with you, Louise and the rest of your family. Know that all you and Louise do make a difference!

Diane said...

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

What a beautiful way to remember your Mother.....

Blessings and love to you all...

the Reverend boy said...

A remarkable lady indeed! I am sure she will be as much of a blessing in glory as she was here.

All of us in NYC send our thoughts and prayers your way and hope they bring you peace.

Terry said...

I'll remember Betty Lou and all those who mourn in my prayers, Susan.

May God's peace surround you and your family.

Karen said...

Your words are a loving and lovely tribute to your Mom,but your life is even more so. How very blessed your family is to have been able to appreciate the gifts of all its members whatever they may be.

Blessings to you all in sorrow & resurrection.

Grace & peace,

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The apple clearly hasn't fallen far from the tree, Susan. You are clearly your mother's daughter - the best tribute a mother can have.

May your deep faith provide you with equal comfort.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Susan, my heart is with you in that place where both grief for the loss of your mom and joy for her 83 years of life reside together.

I am sure they have Bingo Night where light perpetual shines, too!

Mark Harris said...

Susan...Great Mother, great daughter. One or the other would be gift enough, both is a blessing. Keep on keeping on.


Lisa Fox said...

Heartfelt prayers, Susan. I'm glad you are surrounded by loving friends.
The peace of Christ be with you.

Fr. Tom said...

May Perpetual Light shine and guide her as the Spirit embraces her entry to her final resting place.

Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more;
neither sighing but life everlasting.
Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of man:
and we are mortal formed from the dust of the earth,
and unto earth shall we return:
for so thou didst ordain,
when thou created me saying:
"Dust thou art und unto dust shalt thou return."
All we go down to the dust;
and weeping o'er the grave we make our song:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Lapinbizarre said...

Condolences. Roger

John-Julian Swanson, OJN said...

Betty Brown will be remembered at the altar of the Order of Julian.

Your posting is already part of a great memorial!



David said...

I've always loved this prayer from the BCP's "Ministration at the Time of Death"

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Betty. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

Erika Baker said...


prayers for all of you.
You're an amazing woman, being able to write such a moving tribute and continuing to work so hard for all of us at Lambeth.
Prayers for strength, courage and comfort.

susankay said...

Susan -- No good at this. I'm sorry for the loneliness you must be feeling. I'm glad for the mother you had.

Phyllis said...


May God comfort you and your family in your loss. No matter how "grown up" we get, the loss of a mother is a great one. It is wonderful that you have so many memories of good times with her.

Phyllis Boyajian

IT said...

What an awesome mom. My sincere sympathies.


john said...

Susan, God comfort you and all your family.


Ellie Finlay said...

Oh, Susan, I'm so very sorry.

What wonderful pictures you have posted. Your mother was clearly a delightful woman.

I pray for the repose of her soul and that you may be comforted.

Larry Raheb said...

Dear Susan,
Please know that you and your loved ones remain close to my heart, through my thoughts and prayers. May your beloved mother enter into the joys of the Kingdom that were prepared for her! May she rest in peace!
Larry Raheb

Debbie of Boise said...

You are an amazing woman, giving amazing tribute to your amazing mother. Truly the acorn has not fallen far from the oak.
Gracous God, you alone are the source of all life.
May your life-giving Spirit flow through all who know and love Betty Lou, so that they may be ministers of your compassion to one another;
in their sorrow give them the calm of your peace,
and kindle their hope,
and in your good time,
let their grief give way to joy,
through Jesus Christ our Deliverer. Amen.

uffda51 said...

Oh, Susan, such sad news. But what a wonderful tribute to your Mom. Our prayers go out to you and all of your family.

Leslie Littlefield said...

Many prayers ascending for your dear mum and all who loved her.

M.J. said...


My deepest wishes for peace during this time. What a beautiful tribute to your mom -


swpp said...

I'm just back from visiting my 83 year old mother in Colorado Springs (where we marched together in the Pride Parade).

Your photos and words give me a picture of what a woman your mom was - what a gift!

A "Christian woman" as they say.

My prayers and love to you, Louise, and all of your family.


seraph said...

Blessings to your family. Be assured of our prayers.

"...O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who has trampled down Death and overthrown the Devil, and given life unto Your world, give, we beseech You, eternal rest to the soul of Your departed servant, in a place of brightness, in a place of verdure, in a place of repose, from whence all pain, sorrow, and sighing, have fled away..."

Voyceok said...

Susan- Blessings on you and your family. I'm glad you have had her for as long as you have (and it's never long enough) and that she was able to share in so many of life's big events with you.

Susan U

Cameron Partridge said...

Susan, here I am here with you in Canterbury and I didn't realize this had happened until just now-- thank you so much for the work you are doing in our midst, even at a time that must be so difficult for you. May light perpetual shine upon your mom, and may the power of love continue to empower you in your ministry.

janinsanfran said...

What a loving tribute. I keep coming back to look at it. Prayers for your family and for your steadfastness in present circumstances.

JTurner said...

I am so sorry to hear of your mom's death!! But what a wonderful tribute --God bless you and keep you, and may God's face shine upon you now and always.

Brian R said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Also giving thanks for the wonderful memories you will always have.

Grandmère Mimi said...

May Betty Lou rest in God's peace and rise in glory.

Susan, my prayers and sympathy for you and your family and for all who loved Betty Lou.

From your beautiful post, I see that she's a lovely lady, inside and out.

Karla said...


Look at the mother, see the daughter. There is truth in those words both in face, and spirit.

May God watch over you as you work for our church. Your Mom will be watching you as she has for your entire life.

May God also grant you comfort, and the time to mourn.

You and your family will be in my prayers.

PseudoPiskie said...

I'll bet Harvey is soooo happy to see Betty Lou, Susan. Your tribute is lovely and you are a lovely tribute to your mom.

Suzer said...

You've shared some beautiful memories of your mom. Please accept my condolences on your loss, especially at a time when you are halfway around the world. May God's Grace and Peace be with you, Louise and the rest of your family as you grieve, and celebrate, this wonderful woman's life.

David Ould said...

Susan, all the team at Stand Firm want to extend their sincere sympathies to you at this difficult time. We've written a brief post.

Muthah+ said...

RIP. Prayers ascend.

JCF said...

Lux perpetua et lucheat eis...

Traveling mercies, Susan.

(I lost my mom last year---even after a long life, it's passing strange, being without them :-/)

Sue said...

God bless you Susan. I'm so very sorry to hear of your Mother's death.

plsdeacon said...


May God hold you and you family in the palm of His hand as you mourn the loss of your mother.

I pray that God uses this time to draw you closer to Himself and to the the rest of your family.

Phil Snyder

Brian S-P said...

Dear Susan -- Thank you for sharing your mother with us. Thank you for the touching words and photos. A witness of love and joy!

God will come to us like the rain
Like the spring rain
Watering the earth
Hosea 6:3

Blessings, Brian S-P (of Seattle and Minnesota)

Anonymous said...


May you be comforted with all who mourn.

El Malei Rachamim:
God filled with mercy,
dwelling in the heavens' heights,
bring proper rest
beneath the wings of your Shehinah,
amid the ranks of the holy and the pure,
illuminating like the brilliance of the skies
the souls of our beloved and our blameless
who went to their eternal place of rest.
May you who are the source of mercy
shelter them beneath your wings eternally,
and bind their souls among the living,
that they may rest in peace.
And let us say: Amen

-Stuart Siegel

covdavis said...

Susan, dear heart...I'm so sorry. But be assured that your mother is cheering you on in your great work for all of us at Lambeth.

Lelanda Lee said...

God's blessings to you and your family as you mourn the loss of your mother. May your life and ministry continue to be a tribute to her Christian life of love, and may you continue to feel her support in your heart and memory.

The Pilgrim said...

Hugs Susan. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.Take comfort in Christ's love for you and your family.

Hedwyg said...

Amen, dear Susan. Thank you for showing all those pictures of her - she looks like a woman of light and life, and the world has been richer for having her here. Prayers for you and your whole family.

Peace and blessings,

Tobias Haller said...

Dear Susan,
So sorry to hear of this news. God bless you in this time of transition.

Catherine + said...

“A lovely Lady,
Garmented in light,
From her own beauty.”
~Percy Bysshe Shelley~


Frair John said...

May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Lindy said...

Dear Susan,

Thank you for introducing us to your mother. This makes me wish I had known her too.

May you and your family know God's peace.


Cookie12 said...

We are so sorry to hear of your Mother's passing. We have lit several candles and are praying for you and your family through this time of grief. May God give you strength and may the Holy Spirit be with you, surround you, enfold you, and protect you now.
With support and prayers,
Love Milissa and Angela

Terry Hansen said...

Susan, what an amazing collection of pictures. Edward O'Connor wrote in one of his books something about "in missing, you know you'll never be alone." I can not imagine how much you must miss her but I'm also very sure that you're not alone.


Terry Hansen

Nathan Empsall said...

What a blessing to have a mother like that. My prayers for her, you, and your family.

Jane R said...

Dear Susan, I am so sorry to hear this sad news -- and sorry to write so late. (I am traveling and read this just before leaving and finally have a moment to write.) Thank you for the beautiful tribute, and condolences to you and Louise on the loss of a strong and vibrant mother and mother-in-law (and mother-in-love!). Peace, Jane

FranIAm said...

Dear Susan, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I feel so badly for you, you lost your dog when you came east and now you are all the way in the UK and this has happened.

May she rest in peace.

Your story and your photos moved me to tears - so very beautiful.

We know our lives are short and that we must live them well. Easy to say and hard to do. Although I only know of you from this blog, I must say that you seem to live every moment very well.

And that is in no small part I'm sure, due to your mom and your family.

Please know that I pray for healing, hope, peace and consolation for you and yours.


Dave said...

I'm so very sorry, Susan.

As we celebrate your joys, so we grieve in your losses.


-- Dave F. (ASC-Pas)

larry_stammer said...

Allow me to join with so many of your friends and loved ones in extending my prayers and condolences on the death of your mother. Your strength, courage and faith are an example to us all. May God bless you always.
Larry Stammer