Friday, May 29, 2015

Encounter: Presiding Bishops

I have known, at least briefly, a succession of the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishops. I met John Hines when he came to visit All Souls' in Berkeley, where his son (Chris) was serving in his early period of ordained ministry. I heard his successor (John Allin) on several occasions, but never actually met him. Next came Ed Browning whom I did meet, but would not claim that it was a close acquaintanceship. I came to know Frank Griswold quite well, when we were serving on the same panel, and I'll always remember the twinkle in his eye and witty comment when I pontificated on some topic. I was also on friendly terms with his successor Katharine Jefferts Schori. I was delighted when she was first nominated to the office, and since her age and date of birth were matters of public record in Episcopal Church publications, I remember pointing out to her that whether or not she were elected, which we thought quite unlikely at the time, she would have a second opportunity nine years later. She explained in warm response, that she was, in fact, aware of this. In those days, only the bishops voted for the PB, and I didn't think she stood a chance, but the two leading candidates canceled each other out, so I remember the cries of joy when her election was announced. This was at the last General Convention for which I was a Deputy from the Diocese of California, ant the last time I spoke personally with her was at the joyful event when her election was announced. She decided not to seek a second term, and at the time of writing, we do not know what she will do when her successor is appointed later this year (2015).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Encounter: The Norwegian Royal Family

In 1945, the ship in which I was serving (HMS Norfolk) had the privilege of transporting the Norwegian Royal Family from exile to return to their native land. I tell the full story of this encounter in my memoirs. A few years later, I met Princess Astrid again, when we were both students at Oxford.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Encounter: John Stott (1921-2011)

Before his death, John Stott was the best known Evangelical in the Church of England. For many years, he was the Rector of the "BBC Church" (All Souls, Langham Place, London). I met John in 1940, when I attended the first of many church-related camps, where he was working as today what we would call a Counselor. He was athletic and enthusiastic, while still an undergraduate at Cambridge. On the last evening before we dispersed to our homes, we held a celebratory supper. One of the items of entertainment was a series of rhyming couplets. I only remember one of the specific couplets, which were in the pattern of "A is for angels, who live in the heaven/ I once met a few, but only eleven". The one I remember perfectly goes like this: "N is for November, whose days number thirty/ Like Lindsey-Renton they're short, dark, and dirty".

Monday, May 4, 2015

Encounter: The Lord John Conyngham (1926-1963)

The second highest rank in the British aristocracy is a Marquess. (A woman of equivalent rank, or married to a Marquess in a "Marchioness"). All children of a Marquess or Marchioness are automatically entitled to call themselves "The Lord..." or "The Lady...". John was a naval cadet at Dartmouth, already held back one term, who ended up in my term, graduating in 1944. He was the second son of the Marquess, but his elder brother died, and John inherited his father's title.