When I read a Facebook comment yesterday mentioning your transition into heavenly life, I admit, I felt stunned. It is not that it came as a surprise, rather, its that I really do need to get used to the idea of life without you here as a mentor and guide for in the work we have shared in evangelization.
When you preached you didn’t ‘preach,’ you invited us go join you for a tour and adventure from the pulpit. Often, the journey was so amazing, so fascinating that I would forget the passage of time while you were guiding us. It would be a bit of a jolt when we were brought back into the pews with your ‘Amen”. No one preached like you. Your style was unique bold and joyful.
For years, you were a voice for the New Church in the Delaware Valley through the radio broadcast, and through your writing in the papers. Again that same sense of excitement through adventure and discovery shone in the lines of the subjects you tackled – always drawing the readers attention to the sacred texts from which your ideas came. Through your enthusiasm, you became the most published clergy member of any faith in the Delaware Valley. I am certain that you have done more to shape the public perception of the New Church, on your own, in the Philadelphia area than any of the rest of us combined.
More important to me, and the many you left behind was your friendship. You were a constant positive advocate – for a lot of people. In the clergy we experienced this often by receiving newspaper clippings and handwritten notes in the mail. Constantly advocating outreach and the spreading of the truths we hold dear. If things were rough, you would always lend a word of constructive encouragement – often with a twist of brilliant humor.
You were a man of the people. No one could ever say that you, even had a shred of arrogance. I remember how you frequently described your ministry as ‘a journeyman’s ministry’ -a service by one ‘average Joe’ to another. Of course you were no average Joe, though I deeply respect your approach. You respected all, were quiet about your disagreements, and never looked down on others.
I have often compared you to fine wine. Wine that has been gradually aging and maturing, with sophisticated and brilliant flavors, nuances that come through a life of observation and reflection. You could have come from the same grape, but you gave us something unforgettable and irreplaceable through your life.
I remember a sermon you preached years ago reflecting on ‘the patient expectation of Jesus Christ’ from the beginning of Revelation. In it you spoke of wondering what joys one would really discover in the life to come. Well now you are there. I am sure you are blessed by what you are discovering and I guess it is, just as you said, ‘beyond anything you could imagine while here on earth’ I pray that you will continue to offer your mentorship and support for the establishment of this church from your new position in heavenly life. I am certain we will get a good lift through your work there. But I will miss you my friend. It will take a while for it to sink in that you are not here.