Monday, April 05, 2021

Dear Charles


Dear Charles,

You will forever be the priest I want to grow up to be. Watching you preside at altar I always felt like I had been invited to the best party in town which you could not wait to get it started ... and you were SO glad we were there! The joy was both palpable and inextricably connected to your fierce commitment to inclusion: at your party there were no outcasts and you spent your life in the church calling it to live up to your expectations in that regard. Your commitment to love, serve and challenge the church and her people never wavered -- even in the times when the institution in general and some individuals in particular -- fell short of deserving that commitment. Nevertheless, you persisted -- and your example of not letting anyone or anything steal your joy remains for me both the hallmark of your legacy and something I aspire to emulate.
Your laugh was legendary. I remember being on my cell phone in the lobby of the Cathedral Center many moons ago and your laughter in the background caused my conversation partner so say wryly "Sounds like my rector is in the house!" And indeed you were -- and any house you were in was the better for your presence.

I am so grateful we had the chance to cross paths in ministry after your retirement during your time at All Saints in Pasadena. I swear I can still hear your voice reading the names of those we had lost on the first anniversary of 9/11 in the somber silence of the church full of people. And I remember as if it it was yesterday my first All Saints Sunday at All Saints Church when suddenly there was a grand procession stuck in the middle of the service I hadn't seen coming. I was blessed to be sitting next to you on the chancel, and you just patted my hand and said, "Follow me, darling. You'll be fine!" And I was.

You were one of my champions during the rocky part of my ordination process and I treasure this picture from January 1998 at St. John's. You’ve taught and given us all so much over the years it's hard to imagine filling the void your passing leaves for us ... but we will continue to keep the joy, the laughter and the commitment to throwing the party where all are welcome as you showed us. As much as we grieve your passing, we know that you were ready to go home. And there is some comfort that even at the last, you exercised your legendary "Sacquety Slide" to slip away home to Jesus in the waning hours of Easter Day. Give restO Christ, to your servant with your Saints: where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing, but life everlasting.

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