Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sad news from San Pedro

I heard the news on Facebook ... Canon Art Bartlett died yesterday at the age of 91 in San Pedro where he had a long and vibrant ministry dedicated to making God's love tangible to absolutely every person he encountered.

From the feature in today's "Daily Breeze:"
It didn't matter if you were homeless, addicted to drugs or a lonely sailor in town for a few days, Father Art was there to lend a hand. He helped found the Beacon House, a residential recovery program for alcoholics and addicts. He was the director for the Episcopal diocese's Seamen's Church Institute of Los Angeles, which provides aid to those working in the maritime industry. He ran a one-man campaign to collect socks to help keep the feet of the homeless dry and warm during the winter.And, as a longtime clergyman at St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Ninth Street, he helped guide thousands of faithful on their life journeys.
Count me as one of those thousands -- as I had the privilege to serve with Art at St. Peter's where I was the Associate Rector from 1998-2002.

Art was "retired" by then ... not that you'd know it from the schedule he kept. He was an assisting priest at St. Peter's and assisted both liturgically and pastorally. He and his wonderful Fran were more than just fixtures at St. Peter's -- they were family. They were the ones who brought me the tea towel that still hangs in my office as a souvenir from their visit to the Lambeth Conference in 1998. (I count it the only good thing that came out of Lambeth '98!) And after I left St. Peter's they both continued to cheerlead and follow the work for justice and inclusion for all the baptized ... they were (as George Regas would name them) two of my "balcony people."

Fran died a few years ago after a long illness and whenever I saw Art --usually at diocesan functions -- he would tear up a bit just talking about her. He was delighted when Bishop Bruno made a Canon of the Diocese --and so was I. It was a fitting tribute to his long years of faithful ministry -- and he looked very dashing in his purple cassock!

He was an extraordinarily gentle spirit and faithful pastor, teacher and justice seeker. I'm sure both heaven and his beloved Fran are happy to have him home ... but we will miss both his wit and wisdom.
Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.


JCF said...

May he rest in peace, and rise in glory!

Betty-Jo said...

Thank you, Susan, for your lovely appreciation of Father Art. Weren't we lucky to have had him in our lives!!! BJ Ravitz