Obituaries, as printed in the October 18 issue of The Living Church.
Brother David Allen, SSJE, a priest and monk of the Society of St. John the Evangelist who served in the community’s Japanese province for many years, died August 17, aged 91, in the 60th year of his religious profession.
He was a native of Spokane, Washington, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy upon his graduation from Washington State University. After serving in the Pacific Fleet during the Korean War, he answered a call to ordained ministry and studied at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Shortly after his ordination to the diaconate in 1958, he entered the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and became a priest later that year.
In 1962, he was sent to serve in the order’s Japanese province, quickly becoming proficient in the language, and helping in both English and Japanese speaking congregations. He edited the society’s Japanese newsletter, Mi Tsuka, and served as warden to a female religious community, the Sisters of Divine Charity.
He returned to the order’s Cambridge House when the Japanese province was closed in 1975, serving in different roles within the community. He learned enough Cantonese to celebrate the Eucharist and to preach on occasion and became one of the founders of the Boston Chinese Ministry based at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Shortly before Covid-19 lockdowns began, declining health forced Brother David to move to a long-term care facility. He wrote to the community in the spring, “I have come to know my present attitude is one of joy and peace … and that I have accepted with joy what has happened to me … accepting my life as it has become, so cut off from what it had been. Each morning I wake up reciting a line from the psalms, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.’”
Brother David is survived by his brothers in the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
The Rev. Harwood “Woody” Bartlett, who believed God’s first question of him would be, “Well Woody, did you get anything done?” and pursued a ministry focused on care for “the least of these,” died September 21, aged 86.
Though born in Brooklyn, Bartlett moved to Atlanta at 13, and, his family recalled, “was a die-hard Braves fan and enjoyed a cold Coca-Cola until the end.” He studied engineering at Georgia Tech, and after serving in the U.S. Air Force, attended Virginia Seminary to prepare for the priesthood.
He was ordained in 1962 and served first as Episcopal chaplain at his alma mater, where he founded Tech Tutorials, a program that still connects Georgia Tech students with elementary school children in troubled schools. He became vicar of St. Francis Church in Macon, Georgia, in 1967, where he was involved in local civil rights advocacy and integrated the parish.
Bartlett moved back to Atlanta in 1972 to serve as rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church, and expanded the congregation’s outreach program. He left parish ministry after ten years at the church to focus more intensely on social ministry. He served as director of the Diocese of Atlanta’s charitable foundation and led the transformation of downtown Atlanta’s formerly dilapidated Imperial Hotel into a model for affordable, supportive housing.
He later became deeply involved in environmental issues, writing a book, Living by Surprise, A Christian Response to the Ecological Crisis, in 2003. With his wife, Carol, he founded Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that continues to provide resources to help congregations advocate for the care of creation. He loved travel and was a talented needle-pointer, and is survived by his wife, five children, and eight grandchildren.
The Rev. Sarah McRae “Sally” Fox, an advocate for the poor who served parishes in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and her native Louisiana, died August 9, aged 80.
Born in Ferriday, Louisiana, she grew up in towns across the state, and attended Louisiana State University before ultimately graduating from St. Mary’s Dominican College with a degree in education. Fox was deeply involved in church and school life while raising her four children but began to discern a call to ordained ministry. She enrolled at Seminary of the Southwest in 1979, and was ordained as a deacon in 1985, and as a priest four years later.
She served at St. John’s, Royal Oak, Michigan, for four years, and after a short–term assignment in Toledo, came to St. Stephen’s in Houston, where she was on the staff for ten years. In retirement, she was priest-in-residence at St. John’s in Minden, Louisiana. Her family remembered, “she cared for AIDS–stricken patients, homeless families, inner-city children, and abused women. She fed the hungry, clothed the needy, and spoke for the meekest among us. She gave things she needed to people who needed them more and the world is a better place because she walked among us.”
Fox was preceded in death by her son, James, and is survived by a son and two daughters, her husband, Doug, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
The Rev. Dr. Robert Eugene Reynolds died at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 12. He was 83, a native of Arizona and a graduate of Arizona State University and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
Reynolds was ordained deacon and priest in 1966. After a full career serving as rector of parishes in Washington State, Oregon, and California, he and his wife Elizabeth retired to Cincinnati in 2005 to be near family.
He came out of retirement to serve St. Thomas Church, Terrace Park, Ohio, as interim rector for two years and then as a member of the clergy staff until his death. The Church Divinity School of the Pacific awarded him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 2012.
He is remembered by colleagues and parishioners for his leadership skills, in guiding parishes and church committees with a steady hand; his mentoring skills with seminarians and clergy; and even his carpentry skills, with which he enhanced the churches he served.
He is survived by his wife, three children, three stepchildren, 11 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.