Sunday, 28 December 2014

Captain Jack: Two great vocations.

One of the good pleasures in retirement is that of making new friends.
 
This has been part of the joy of my retirement (to a new City).  High on the list of such new friends are Jack and Donna Chrisman.  I met them at St. Boniface Church in SRQ.  They have become very dear to me, and to my brother Martyn from Bristol U.K.,  who has met them on two visits to SRQ.
 
Jack, from Charlotte N.C. has enjoyed two wonderful careers.
 
He was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.  His service in the Navy led him to the rank of Captain.  He commanded three naval ships.
 
When posted to Athens, Greece  as the Naval Attach√©  (I think) at the U.S. Embassy.
 
Whilst in Athens,  Jack, raised a Presbyterian, became an Anglican  because of the ministry of the Church of England congregation in that City.  That experience of Anglican life led Jack to a second career, as an Anglican Priest.
 
Under the tutelage of the Bishop of the C of E's Diocese in Europe Jack trained for Holy Orders at Westcott House, Cambridge, U.K., and was ordained at Ely Cathedral in the County of Cambridge.
 
He served in rural Cambridgeshire parishes, and then (get this) he was appointed to be the Assistant Chaplain at the U.K. Embassy in Oslo. (Must be the first time ever that a U.S. Citizen and retired U.S. Navy Captain served as a Chaplain at a U.K. Embassy!)
 
Whilst in Norway Jack also served C of  E congregations in Oslo and Bergen.
 
When Jack and Donna returned to the U.S.A.  he became the Rector of an Episcopal Church Parish in Newport, R.I. (and also for ten years the Chaplain to the Newport Fire Department). 
 
In due course they moved to Sarasota, FL and became involved in the life of St. Boniface Church.
 
Jack and I are "Priest Associates" at St. B's (where we met)  -  to my unmitigated blessing. This old gay bachelor Minister has been a frequent guest in their home - thanks be to God.
 
My beloved Jack (at age 81) decided that the time had come for him to make a final retirement from Church ministry.  Indefatigable as he is, he has decided that from now on his best place is in a pew alongside his love and dearest friend Donna.
 
With the gracious consent of our Rector, John C.N. Hall, Jack presided and preached at the 11:15 a.m. Eucharist today.  (I was privileged to be a lector and to minister a Chalice).
 
Jack preached a fabulous sermon (the best I have heard from his lips) on the powerful words from John's Gospel Chapter 1 "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us".
 
I thank God for Jack and Donna, my new friends in retirement.
 
 
Donna Chrisman
 
Jack Chrisman
 
 
 
 

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