Eyewitness

By Dale Coleman

Residents of St. Louis and 13 bishops from across the country packed the Church of St. Michael & St. George July 7 for the funeral of the Rt. Rev. Edward Lloyd Salmon, Jr., longtime rector of the church and retired Bishop of South Carolina.

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I attended the burial service as a longtime friend of the bishop, and an admirer of his leadership in the Episcopal Church and his Southern charm — gracious, courtly, and old-fashioned.

I met him in the early 1990s and most recently spent time with him at the funeral of the Rev. Emery Washington, his friend from seminary days at Virginia Theological Seminary. In his sermon for his friend, an African American and notable national leader in civil rights and education, the bishop had recalled what it was like for the two men to travel together in the late 1950s, sent by the Rt. Rev. Raymond Brown, Bishop of Arkansas, to Virginia.

More than 50 years later, we heard Bishop Salmon describe the Jim Crow South, and how they used separate restrooms, motels, and diners, all while respecting one another deeply and becoming fast friends. The preacher also noted their shared love for Jesus as the strongest foundation for these two Episcopal seminarians.

At Bishop Salmon’s funeral, the Rev. Charleston Wilson told stories of working with Salmon during the bishop’s years as dean and president of Nashotah House. In that time Salmon’s leadership skills were prominent: he turned the finances of House around, brought stability and wise guidance to Nashotah, and invited Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori for an address and conversation with the seminary community.

The choir sang the opening anthems with fine diction and tone, while the procession moved into the chancel and nave.

The  Rev. Blake Andrew Sawicky, assistant rector, handled the readings; the Rev. Andrew John Archie, rector, preached; and the curate, the Rev. Ezgi Saribay, a native of Turkey and graduate of Nashotah House, celebrated the Rite One Eucharist, complete with Healey Willan’s musical setting.

Other clergy paying honor included the Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri; the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield, whom Salmon assisted in his last few years; and the Rev. Tony Clavier, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield who joined Saribay in providing pastoral care for Bishop Salmon in his final months.

The Rev. Canon Dale Coleman is rector of St. George’s Church in Belleville, Illinois.

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