Becky is a retired school-teacher. She is adored by all the older gay men at St. B's. They are lavishing her with visits and phone calls.
I made her laugh when I said "the Bible says that Jesus is the King of Kings. I think that you are the Queen of Queens".
On Friday I went down to see Bob H and Frank P at their home in Charlotte County, FL, some 48 miles from where live. Bob is the man who had a nasty fall at his work-place last year, a fall which seriously injured his brain.
At one time Frank P (his partner), and Peggy and Pat his sisters thought that I would be called in to minister "last rites". You may remember that I frequently visited Bob in the Trauma Unit at Blake Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, FL, then just one at the V.A. Hospital in Tampa.
Bob has made an incredible recovery. So it was a blessing to see him and Frank in their home, and to rejoice with Bob at his new health (and to enjoy is humour).
Saturday saw me at a Memorial Service for one of St. B's best: one Fred H. I did not know Fred and his wife Lorna all that well, but we always exchanged the warmest of greetings at the "early service" at St. B's.
Fred's younger brother Michael, and his friend from Kindergarten days Bob, shared their memories of this remarkable man: a Yale University graduate who switched from Chemistry to English Literature (when he failed Organic Chemistry); who by default became a NYC Banker who specialised in loans to the Chemical Industry; who was a clam digger in Long Island's South Bay, an expert Banjo player, an avid fly-fisherman and hunter, a wood carver, an avid "birder", a brilliant skeet-shooter - the list goes on and on.
All of this, plus a devoted and tender husband to Lorna, and a father to Fred H III, and Ken H (sons who could scarcely contain their tears as they read Psalms 23 and 121 as part of the service).
It turns out that Fred and his brother M had attended the Pomfret (Boarding) School, in Pomfret, CT.
See http://www.pomfretschool.org/page and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomfret,_Connecticut
Pomfret (name derived from the town of Pontefract in the U.K.) is a gorgeous little town which I have visited twice. I could not wait to tell Michael H that I was one of the few people in the congregation who knew all about Pomfret, CT. It is a delightful place which I have twice visited.
OH HOW I WISH that I had known Fred at a deeper level than that of our genial greetings at St. B's "early service".
Today I went (as is my custom on Sundays) to the Windsor Assisted Living facility in Lakewood Ranch, FL, there to share Holy Communion with St. B's parishioner Carl H-K, and to join with him for an excellent lunch in the Dining Room at "The Windsor".
Four consecutive days of pastoral visits - each and every one a pleasure.
It keeps me out of trouble.
But it also leads me to ask "why have the younger breed of Episcopal Priests been taught that pastoral visitation is un-important, and that it should be devolved to lay visitors?"
In my book such visitations should not be an either/or (either priest/ministers OR lay Christians).
It could and should be a both/and (faithful priest/ministers/ AND lay Christians) sharing the joy, peace, challenges and blessings with those who are unable to participate in Sunday services.
Please forgive this liberal Minister who is so old-fashioned regarding some aspects of Christian Ministry.
Remember also please that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of tiny minds" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)