Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory: January 21, 2021

Natalia Vonnegut Beck

The Rev. Canon Natalia “Tanya” Vonnegut Beck, a pioneer in women’s ministry who founded a crisis center for victims of domestic violence and a spirituality institute, died December 14, aged 88.

She was a native of Anderson, Indiana, and a graduate of DePauw and Ball State Universities. As a young wife and mother at St. John’s Church in Crawfordsville, Indiana she established a coffee house ministry for students at Wabash College.

She was ordained to the diaconate in 1974, and, a year later, founded the Julian Mission in Indianapolis, which offered “crisis help for battered women, rape victims, depressed housewives, and worried adolescents.” It was the first center of its kind in Indiana, and it continues today as the Julian Center, the state’s largest domestic violence support program.

Beck was ordained to the priesthood in 1977, the second woman to be ordained after General Convention revised the canons to allow it. She served in many congregations in Indiana and Florida, developing special gifts for interim ministry. In 1990, she also established The Pilgrimage, a spirituality institute at St. John’s Church in Clearwater, Florida, as part of a longstanding ministry of spiritual direction, emotional support, and empowerment for those in need of hope and healing.

Beck is survived by four children, twelve grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and many dear friends.

Adam McNealy Lewis III

The Rev. Adam McNealy Lewis III, a respected graphic and interior designer who also led several large congregations, died November 25, aged 83.

A native of Marianna, Florida, Lewis was a graduate of Florida State University and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He was ordained in 1967, and began his ministry in the Diocese of Connecticut, serving as curate of St. Luke’s Church in Darien and as rector of Zion Church, North Branford, and Emmanuel Church in Killingworth. During his early years in ministry, Lewis earned degrees in fine arts from the Yale School of Art and Architecture and worked as an art director at the New York advertising firm of Doyle Dane Bembach, the inspiration for the television series Mad Men.

He became rector of St. Paul’s Church in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1973, where he developed programs focused on young families and advocated for senior housing initiatives and the nation’s first hospice. He became rector of Trinity by the Cove in Naples, Florida in 1980, and oversaw the renovation of the church and founded the Naples Antique Show and Sale, which raised funds for local charities.

Lewis served for 10 years as rector of Christ Church Christiana Hundred, in Wilmington, Delaware. There he expanded the parish campus to protect against encroaching development and spearheaded the rebuilding of the church and parish hall. He also hired the church’s first priest of color and supported the beginnings of Latino ministry at St. Barnabas Church in Wilmington.

In 1993, Lewis left Christ Church to undertake studies at New York’s Parsons School of Design. He established an interior design practice and wrote four books on the history of interior design, as well as numerous articles for industry journals. He closed his design firm only two years ago.

Lewis is survived by his partner of 29 years, Thomas K. Chu, and by his daughter, Molly.

William Frank Mosier

The Rev. William Frank Mosier, a deacon who developed an active ministry to the deaf in Oregon, died on November 25 at his home, aged 74.

Mosier grew up on a cherry farm in The Dalles, Oregon, as an active member of St. Paul’s Church. After graduation from high school, he entered the University of Portland. During his freshman year, he became ill with a virus that left him profoundly deaf. He transferred to Gallaudet University, where he learned sign language before falling ill once more. He eventually earned degrees in art education and deaf education from Western Oregon University.

He taught art and special education at the Oregon School for the Deaf and worked as a mental health case worker and a job coach in a program for deaf adults with cognitive and emotional disabilities in Salem, Oregon.

He was ordained to the diaconate in the Diocese of Oregon in 1994 and served for over 15 years as a deacon at St. Hilda’s Church in Monmouth, Oregon, where he developed an extensive ministry with deaf people in the surrounding region. He served on the board of the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf, was honored with its meritorious service award in 1999, and served as its president from 2005-2006.

Mosier was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, the Rev. Noel Knelage, who served as vicar of St. Hilda’s. He is survived by his second wife, Bev, by his siblings, the Rev. Jim Mosier, and the Rev. Linda Hale, and by his daughter, Jackie.

Vincent Shamo

The Rev. Vincent Shamo, a Ghanaian priest who served several parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles, died December 6 after a long struggle with cancer, aged 66.

He was born in Teshie, Accra, Ghana, and served as a monk of the Order of the Holy Cross in Ghana before discerning a call to parish ministry. He trained for the priesthood at St. Nicholas College in Cape Coast and in England and was ordained in 1985. He served at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Accra for several years before coming to the United States to study at the University of California at Berkeley.

During his studies, he assisted at St. Clement’s in Berkeley, and after moving to Los Angeles, at St. James in the City. He also served as Episcopal chaplain at the University of California in Irvine.

In 2004, he became rector of St. Mary’s in the Palms, an Anglo-Catholic parish in Los Angeles, where he maintained its strong tradition of reverent worship and social witness. During his ministry, the parish sponsored refugees from Liberia and sheltered two Cameroonian physicians who were seeking asylum in the United States. He helped to establish the Palms Emergency Preparedness Coalition in 2015, gathering earthquake relief supplies. A highlight of his ministry was celebrating the church’s centennial in 2019, when his old friend, Archbishop Rowan Williams, was a guest preacher at a festive and memorable service.

Shamo is survived by his wife, Florence, three children, and a grandson.


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