Friday, 25 May 2018

It's a small world



My Cambridge friend Sarah F encouraged me to get together with Philbert Kalisa, an Anglican Priest from Rwanda who had recently been a guest in her home.

Philbert has a ministry of reconciliation between Hutus and Tutsis in his home land.  He is in Sarasota to visit  family members who live here.

So he and I had lunch together today.  It was a delightful encounter.

As we talked we found many connections.

*  He did post ordination training at Trinity (Theological) College in Bristol U.K., my home City.

* When in  Bristol he spearheaded outreach ministries at Christ Church, Clifton  -- the very parish which I attended in my early Anglican days.  Christ Church was where I was confirmed, and was the parish which set me on the path to ordination.

He and I both remember the Revd. Paul Berg who was the Vicar of Christ Church when I was a Theological Student.  Philbert served at Christ Church after my time there, so our paths never crossed

 Philbert is well acquainted  with my friends and colleagues:- Bishops Ian Douglas  (Connecticut) and Mark Hollingsworth (Ohio), as well as with my good friend Steve Bonsey, Steve's wife Elisabeth Keller and their children Noah, Sam, Josiah and Annie. 

Such a small and delightful Anglican world.

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I'll be off to Atlanta early on Saturday 26th (my 74th Birthday) to spend some time with my friends Steve (Fitchburg 1976) and his partner Rick; and also with Susan (Pittsfield 1984) and her partner Lisa.

It will be good to see them.

I will fly back to Sarasota on Monday.

Chris S a wonderful  dog and house sitter will take great care of my dog, but I am already wondering how I will be able to survive for 48 hours sans Zion!





Thursday, 24 May 2018

A fancy French Restaurant? Lunch today with my friends Cindy and Wes




Cindy, Wes and I enjoyed being together for lunch today at Brassiere Honore.

No, it's not a fancy French place, instead it is the Cafe within the humongous Whole Foods market at University Parkway and Honore Ave in Sarasota.

Wes and I had the Lamb Sausage sandwich (in a baguette), with Frites.

I was not impressed. The sandwich had all too much baguette, and all too little sausage (which itself was very dry, and had perhaps had but a passing acquaintance with lamb).

The frites were good!

Food aside, it was so good to be with these good friends.

I am not too fond of Whole Foods.  I believe that their success has been a triumph of marketing over substance - a place for the professionally liberal middle classes, but not for the hard scrabble and hard working working classes.

The Company has now been acquired by AMAZON  -  this gives me pause for rueful thought.  (The University/Honore store even has a special check out for Amazon Prime members, get that!)

About the somewhat pretentious name: "Brasserie Honore".

Honore  (on a ray) Ave is named for Bertha Honore Palmer a remarkable woman and a founding mother of Sarasota. It's worth reading more about her here:


http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20100117/a-century-ago-bertha-palmer-changed-the-region?start=2


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

PART TWO The Bishop, the Candlestick and a family heritage.



Dain Perry, Bishop Perry's grandson reminds me that the good Bishop died in 1947 not 1946 as I stated.

Dain and I were born in the same year which means that I will be 74 soon, just a week before he attains that age.

Dain also told me that his father, the Revd. DeWolf Perry had a seat in a corner at King George VI's coronation, from which he had a great view of the King and Queen.



Many Episcopalians, lay and ordained,will be familiar with the book.  It was very frequently to be found in Church sacristies. It was the semi authoritative text for Altar Guild members.  Edith Weir Perry was the wife of Bishop James DeWolf Perry.

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Traces of the Trade.(Dain Perry far left)
Dain and some of his cousins knew that their extended clan was rooted in the wealth of their common ancestor James DeWolf 1764-1837 a notorious slave trader from Bristol R.I. Yes, the American north was deeply complicit in slaving -  it never was unique to the American south.

See this about James DeWolf

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_DeWolf

The cousins worked and sweated together to create a powerful documentary about their family heritage which was in due course shown on Public Television. 

(Dain and his wife Constance came to St. James's, Cambridge with a preview of the documentary which gave us an important and necessary entry into conversations about modern day racism).

See this about Traces of the Trade

https://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/30/filmmaker_uncovers_her_familys_shocking_slave

And this

https://youtu.be/S6RnzUDSw1c


It makes me very happy to note that I  count  Dain and Tinka Perry (grandchildren of  Bishop James DeWolf Perry and Edith Perry; children of DeWolf and Kitty Perry) together with Dain's wife Constance as dear friends.










Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Another Presiding Bishop, a Coronation, and a Candlestick



James DeWolf Perry was the (Episcopal Church) Bishop of Rhode Island (1911-1946), and the Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church (1930-1937).  

He was the last Presiding Bishop who was not required  to leave his Diocesan  Episcopate upon becoming Presiding Bishop.

I never knew him (he died in 1946) but I own something which he owned (see below).

I knew, loved and respected his oldest son, the Revd. DeWolf Perry.  More about that later.

Presiding Bishop Perry got to know the C of E Archbishop of York William Temple (later of Canterbury).  Their friendship led to the younger Perry (my friend) becoming an Honorary Chaplain to Archbishop Temple at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.

Get that current Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.  A Coronation trumps a wedding!

Young DeWolf Perry's honorary role in the 1937 Coronation became newsworthy in the U.S.A. press.

He was described as America's most eligible Bachelor!

American republicans (with that lower case "r") wondered why an Episcopal Church Priest would want to grace the Coronation of yet another King George.

One newspaper declared that young Mr. Perry was not a fair exchange for Wallace Simpson.

(At the time of the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 DeWolf Perry, then the Rector of St. Michael's Church in Charleston S.C. became a bit of a celebrity in South Carolina when he was able to give talks about U.K. Coronation rites and rituals. Thanks to his son Dain Perry for this information)

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  DeWolf Perry had been the Priest in Charge at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Fitchburg, MA until I became the Deacon, then Priest in Charge in 1976.

Church protocol required that he and his terrific wife Kitty should leave CGS when I was given that charge.

I would have nothing of it.  I wanted and needed the Perrys to continue their life at CGS.

And so they did.  I wanted and needed their presence. 

Kitty became a dear friend. I needed and trusted her wisdom.

DeWolf became my essential mentor. About every two weeks I would sit down with him and rant as only I can rant.

My uninterrupted ranting over, DeWolf would keep silence and then say "now Michael".

That "now Michael" always  preceded his gentle response to my nonsense.

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When DeWolf lay a dying in a Hospital in Worcester, MA I rushed down to be with him and his family, and to pray with them.

Kitty could not bear to stay until the end, so I drove her back to their home in Princeton MA. where we waited in silence for the 'phone call which signaled his death. Such an honour for me.

Bishop Andrew Wissemann presided at DeWolf's Burial Eucharist at Christ Church, Fitchburg, MA  (where Bishop James DeWolf Perry had once been the Rector, 1897-1904).

Bishop Wissemann was unable to officiate for the Burial Prayers in Bristol, R.I., so that solemn task was devolved to me.  It was a holy privilege.

About that  Candlestick.




As a young man DeWolf Perry bought it in France as a gift for his father the Bishop.

After Bishop Perry's death the candlestick reverted to DeWolf.  

 Many years later he gave it to me.