The EUC Salutes its 2020 Saints
The Rt. Rev. G.P. Mellick Belshaw
Photo Credit of Episcopal News Services
The Rt. Rev. G.P. Mellick Belshaw was born in 1928 in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of the Rev. Harold Belshaw and Edith Mellick. He attended St. Paul’s School in Concorde, New Hampshire where he was a member of the Missionary Society. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of the South in 1951 and followed that with a Master of Arts Degree in Sacred Studies from the General Theological Seminary in 1959. After completing his studies at General (GTS), Mellick Belshaw served churches in Waimanalo, Hawaii, Dover, Delaware and Rumson, New Jersey. In 1975 Mellick was elected Suffragan Bishop of New Jersey, followed by his election as Bishop Coadjutor in 1982. In 1983 he became the ninth bishop of New Jersey where he served until his retirement in 1995.
Bishop Belshaw was editor of two well-regarded books, Lent with Evelyn Underhill and Lent with William Temple. He was awarded honorary Doctors of Divinity from both the GTS and the University of the South. He was also the recipient of an honorary degree from Hamilton University. His service to General Seminary included thirty-one years on the Board of Trustees, service as a tutor, a fellow, an adjunct faculty member, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and acting dean.
Through the Urban Bishops’ Coalition, Mellick Belshaw became a founding member of the Episcopal Urban Caucus and served as its president from 1986 to 1989. He died peacefully at his home in Princeton, New Jersey on February 29, 2020 at the age of ninety-one. He was married to Elizabeth Wheeler from 1954 until her death in 2014. They were parents to three grown children.
The Rev. Canon Robert Johnson Brooks
Photo Credit of Harrell Funeral Homes
The Rev. Canon Robert Johnson Brooks was born on March 25, 1947 to R. Max Brooks and Marietta Moody. He grew up in Austin, Texas where his father was a noted architect of the LBJ Library, the Johnson Space Center, NASA in Houston and the Labor Building in Washington, DC. Robert spent many years at the LBJ Ranch and was a leader of the Young Democrats in the state of Texas. He was a member of the Austin High School Class of 1965 and graduated from St. Edward’s University in 1970. He graduated from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley, California in 1973.
Robert was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Texas in 1974, serving All Saints in Baytown where he introduced the catechumenate, a rite to prepare candidates for baptism. During his ten years at All Saints he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Theology/Theological Studies with an emphasis on liturgics from the University of Notre Dame. He served as a commissary to the Diocese of Namibia in southern Africa and was canonically resident in the Diocese of Hawaii from 1983 to 1988 before transferring to the Diocese of Washington. There he served on Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning’s staff as Director of Government Relations where he represented the public policy positions of The Episcopal Church to the White House, Congress, the Executive Branch, the diplomatic community and foreign heads of state. He played a back-channel role on behalf of the Presiding Bishop during peace negotiations in El Salvador and based on his service, was installed as a lifetime Honorary Canon of the Diocese of El Salvador.
Canon Brooks served as Director of the Business Partnership for a New Global Future where he organized the corporate coalition in support of Congressional funding for debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. In 2004 he became rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Willimantic, Connecticut after which he retired and returned to his home state of Texas. In 2015 he received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from CDSP. He served on The Episcopal Church’s Standing Liturgical Commission, was a member of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, the North American Academy of Liturgy and as vice president of Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. He was the immediate past president of the Episcopal Urban Caucus, having just stepped down in February of 2020 for reasons of health.
Canon Robert Brooks died on February 29, 2020. He is survived by his partner and companion Adisak “Toi” Nernbok and Toi’s son, Autophon (Autti), in addition to a sister and two nephews.
Dr. Erman Louie Crew Clay
Photo Credit of Q Spirit
Dr. Erman Louie Crew Clay was born in Anniston, Alabama on December 9, 1936. He received his BA degree from Baylor University, his MA degree in 1959 from Auburn and his PhD from the University of Alabama in 1971. During his career, Louie Crew taught in England, Hong Kong, China and at colleges in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Chicago. He became Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University in 1989 from which he retired in 2002. He was confirmed an Episcopalian in 1961 and became a long term advocate for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in The Episcopal Church.
In 1974 Louie Crew became a founder of the national organization for gay and lesbian Episcopalians known as Integrity. He served as editor of Integrity’s newsletter from 1974 to 1977. He also cofounded the lesbigay caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1975. He served on the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force from 1976 to 1978 and on the Wisconsin Governor’s Council of Lesbian and Gay Issues in 1983.
Crew wrote the first openly gay materials published in Change Magazine, Christianity & Crisis, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Churchman, Fellowship Magazine, The Living Church, Metanoia and Southern Exposure. He edited, A Book of Revelations: Lesbian and Gay Episcopalians Tell Their Own Stories. His most recent publication is 101 Reasons to Be Episcopalian.
Dr. Crew was a member of Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey from 1989 until his death on November 27, 2019. He served as a member of the vestry as well as a deputy to diocesan convention and a member of the Companion Diocese Committee with Hong Kong. He was a member and chair of the Task Force on Electronic Technology, Chair of the Oasis Search Committee and member of the Task Force of Episcopal Identity. The Diocese of Newark elected him deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church six times and the General Convention elected him to the Executive Council in 2000 to serve for six years.
Louie Crew was recognized nationally by having a scholarship bearing his name established at the Episcopal Divinity School which also conferred upon him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He was the recipient of the Bishop’s Cross from the Rt. Rev. John Spong, Diocese of Newark and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He is survived by Ernest Clay whom he married on February 2, 1974.
The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris
Photo Credit of Alchetron
The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, was born on June 12, 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Walter and Beatrice (Price) Harris. She graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls and the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism. In 1949 she joined Joseph V. Baker Associates, Inc., a national public relations firm headquartered in Philadelphia. She was president of the firm in 1968 when she joined the Sun Oil Company as community relations consultant. She was later named manager of community and urban affairs and headed Sun Oil’s Public Relations Department, becoming a senior staff consultant in 1977.
She was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s through the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity (ESCRU) and the National Council of Churches’ Delta Ministry, traveling to Greenville, Mississippi to help register black voters and to take part in the Selma to Montgomery march.
She had an active lay ministry in The Episcopal Church in Christian Education, prison chaplaincy and at all levels of the church before discerning a call to ordained ministry. She was ordained a priest in 1980 when the ordination of women had been officially recognized in the church for only four years. The Rev. Barbara Harris was priest in charge at St. Augustus of Hippo Church in Norristown, Pennsylvania from 1980 to 1984. During that time she was named executive director of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company and publisher of the social justice magazine, The Witness. In 1988 she took on the additional duties as interim rector of the Church of the Advocate.
On February 11, 1989, before a congregation of 8,000 in Boston’s Hynes Auditorium – and before national and international media – the Rev. Barbara C. Harris became the first woman consecrated a bishop in the world wide Anglican Communion. During her episcopate as suffragan bishop of Massachusetts, she preached and worked continually for the eradication of racism, sexism and homophobia and to bring about the full inclusion of all people in the life and sacraments of the church. Bishop Harris was a founding member and former president of the Episcopal Urban Caucus. She was also a member of the Union of Black Episcopalians and represented The Episcopal Church on the Prisoner Visitation and Support Committee. She was a member of the Church’s Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Episcopal Divinity School at Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was the recipient of at least seventeen honorary degrees. She was a spirited and sought after preacher and an outspoken advocate for, in her words, “the least, the lost and the left out.”
Bishop Barbara Harris died on March 13, 2020 at Care Dimension Hospice House in Lincoln, Massachusetts following a hospitalization in Boston, faithfully attended throughout by close friends and upheld by the prayers of many. She was 89 years old.
Margaret Cornelia Morgan Lawrence
Photo Credit of Wikipedia
Dr. Margaret Cornelia Morgan Lawrence was born in 1914 in New York City but grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She was the second child born to an Episcopal priest and a school teacher. Her older brother called, “Candy Man” died at eleven months, a year before Margaret was born. At age fourteen Margaret decided she wanted to become a doctor and one day save babies like her brother, from death. Having finished Vicksburg, Mississippi’s black high school, Margaret moved to New York City where she lived with an aunt and a grandmother in Harlem while attending Wadleigh High, one of two classical high schools for girls in the city. Two years later she graduated with the Greek and Latin prizes.
In 1932 Margaret became the only black undergraduate at Cornell University where was barred from the dormitories. To earn her keep she worked as a live-in maid. Even with a superior academic record as an undergraduate, Margaret was rejected from the Cornell Medical School because the Dean explained, “We admitted a black man to our school twenty-five years ago and it didn’t work out…He got tuberculosis.” Columbia University was willing to admit Margaret as their only black student and as one of ten women students entering in 1936.
Upon completion of medical school Margaret did her pediatric residency at Harlem Hospital where she became an outspoken activist for better medical care for the poor. She also became involved in national and international movements for peace and justice. Following a three year stint teaching pediatrics at all-black Meharry College in Nashville, Tennessee where she suffered discrimination as the only woman physician, Margaret returned to New York to do a residency in psychiatry and to train in psychoanalysis as the first and only African American to matriculate in both programs. Amidst this determined career pursuit, Margaret met and married Charles Lawrence, a young sociologist and social activist who was also from Mississippi.
Dr. Margaret Lawrence built a thriving practice in child psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Rockland County, New York and created an innovative, interdisciplinary school mental health unit in the county’s schools. She also served as Chief of Developmental Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis in Rockland County, as Chief of Developmental Psychiatry Services for infants and children at Harlem Hospital and as associate clinical professor at Columbia University School of Medicine. She authored two books that chronicled her work. She received honorary degrees from the General Theological Seminary, Yale/Berkeley Divinity School, Swarthmore College and Connecticut College. In 2003 she was awarded the Episcopal Peace Fellowship Sayre Prize in recognition of her work to promote peace, justice and non-violence.
Margaret Morgan Lawrence died on December 4, 2019 at the age of 105. She is survived by three children, Charles R. Lawrence,III, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot and Paula Lawrence Wehmiller, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The Rev. Ronald Miller
Photo Credit of Maryland Episcopalian
The Rev. Ronald Miller died on September 30, 2019 after a life of service to the church. Ron’s wife, Mary Miller, died just a year earlier in September of 2018. Ron served congregations in Baltimore, Maryland including St. Mary the Virgin, Church of the Advent, St. James’, Lafayette Square and St. Bartholomew’s. He also served on the Diocese of Maryland staff and sang in the choir at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore. His ordained ministry spanned more than fifty-five years in the dioceses of Washington, Pittsburgh and Maryland.
Ron Miller was loved across Baltimore, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and The Episcopal Church. He and Mary worked tirelessly for issues of social justice, peace, racial reconciliation, LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality. Those who knew them attest to the strength of Mary and Ron Miller as a couple, as true partners who used their gifts to work together to bring God’s dream to this world.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached at the October 17, 2019 service to celebrate Ron’s life. In his sermon Bishop Curry spoke of Ron’s deep faithfulness and of his willingness to give his heart and life to the God he loved and trusted. Bishop Curry noted that every sermon Ron preached was about love. He would faithfully go through the Old and New Testaments to choose passages on how, “God’s love worked through human life.”
In addition to his pastoral ministry and advocacy work across the church, Ron was a former marine who worked for peace in a gentle way and who accepted his wife’s commitment “to refuse to participate in or give moral support to any war” through the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. In the last years before his retirement he led the Diocese of Maryland’s Committee on Reparations for Slavery. Together with Mary he served at the forefront of the Episcopal Urban Caucus. He is survived by their son, Timothy.
The Very Rev. James Parks Morton
(Photo Credit of Parkchester Times)
The Very Rev. James Parks Morton who served for twenty-five years as Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, died at home on January 4, 2020. Dean Morton was born on January 7, 1930 in Houston, Texas to Virginia May Parks and Vance M. Morton. In 1950 when he was a college senior majoring in architecture he heard a speech that changed his life. It was given by the then Rev. Paul Moore, Jr. (later Bishop of New York) and it was a story about St. Martin giving his cloak to the poor. For a time after that Jim Morton turned the squash court in the basement at Eliot House (a Harvard student residence) into a chapel.
Dean Morton received a theology degree from Cambridge University and later studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained in 1954. He served as a priest in Jersey City and, for eight years, as director of the Urban Training Center for Christian Mission in Chicago, Illinois. Jim Morton was appointed dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1972 by Bishop Paul Moore, Jr. Together they re-envisioned the church as “a medieval cathedral for New York City” that would engage the city in all its promise and problems.
At the time there were more problems than promise. New York City was in the midst of a financial crisis that almost drove it to bankruptcy. The cathedral, which sat between Columbia University, Morningside Park and Harlem, was a symbol of the city’s stagnancy. The building itself was largely unused and it sat on a piece of neglected property. Dean Morton opened a homeless shelter on the cathedral grounds and empowered the poor by creating the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, an organization devoted to helping people rebuild and occupy their own apartments in abandoned buildings. He also founded music and dance programs, turning the cathedral into a cultural destination.
In 1979 Jim Morton began a program for unemployed young residents of Harlem and Newark to train with master stonemasons in order to continue construction on the cathedral towers. “We will resume building this great house of God,” he said at the time, “and revive the dying art of stone craft by teaching it to the young people of our neighborhood.” He stepped down as dean of the cathedral at the end of 1996 and immediately founded the Interfaith Center of New York which promotes mutual understanding among religions. Jim is survived by his wife of sixty-five years, Pamela Taylor Morton, three daughters, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Mrs. Eleanor Martha Diana Kissel Rainford
Photo Credit of New York Times
Mrs. Eleanor Martha Diana Kissel Rainford was born on February 19, 1927, the eldest of three children. She grew up in Adams, Massachusetts and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She graduated from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. She was a life-long learner and completed two Masters Programs through the City College of New York and Columbia University.
Eleanor Rainford spent her life raising her children, teaching children in Harlem, developing Black Studies programs for elementary schools and being a vital member of her adopted community in Washington Heights in New York City. She served as a Lay Eucharistic Minister at Holyrood Church (Iglesia de La Santa Cruz) taking the sacrament and comfort to those who could not attend church. She was a longtime volunteer in the Advocacy, Counseling and Entitlement Services Program at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. She learned Spanish to help the newcomers to her neighborhood and those with cancer and long term illnesses apply for medical and financial benefits. She was the first volunteer to provide solace to people with AIDS during the era if the AIDS health crisis. She also served as a Rape Crisis Counselor and as a Chaplain at Bellevue Hospital. She was involved in health studies and donated her remains to science so that others could continue to learn how to improved their quality of life. She and her husband, Charles, were long time active members of the Episcopal Urban Caucus.
Eleanor Rainford is survived by her children Michael, Daniel, Ellen Martin and Rebecca (Sims), eleven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother Bruno “Sam” Kissel and sister Marion Shorey Cho. She was predeceased by her husband Charles P. Rainford.