Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory: February 17, 2021

Stephen Casey

The Rev. Canon Stephen C. Casey, an Englishman who served as a priest of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania for 26 years, died Jan. 19 of complications of COVID-19, at 74.

He grew up in Hull, in Yorkshire, and developed a lifelong fascination with airplanes. As a young man, he apprenticed as a house and sign painter before entering the airline industry, eventually becoming a station manager for Dann Air.

He and Raelynn were married in 1982, and they moved to the United States three years later. Responding to a call to the priesthood, he began college studies in his mid-40s, graduating from Gettysburg College and then Virginia Theological Seminary.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1996 and served for three years at St. Paul’s Church in Lock Haven. Three years later, he became rector of the Church of St. Edward the Confessor in Lancaster, which he served until his retirement in 2018.

Casey served on several diocesan committees, including as president of the standing committee. He was head of examining chaplains and taught in the diocese’s Stevenson School for Ministry, sharing his passion for Anglo-Saxon spirituality and the poetry of John Donne. Casey represented the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania twice at General Convention and cherished his fellowship with St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, Michigan.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, daughters Emily and Elizabeth, and two grandchildren.

Susan C. Burman

The Rev. Deacon Susan C. Burman, a leader in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, died Jan. 10 at 82.

A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Burman’s career was as a nurse. She served as parish nurse at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Fond du Lac, as well as manager of the Parish Press, which was based there. After her ordination in 1998, she was the cathedral’s deacon until 2002, when she was assigned to Holy Trinity, Waupun.

She helped coordinate diocesan mission trips to Honduras and New Orleans and served as nurse at the diocese’s summer camp. She served on the diocese’s executive council and abuse prevention committee, and participated in many of diocesan services. She especially loved carrying a flying-dove banner in processions.

Burman is survived by her husband, Harv, four children, and numerous grandchildren.

Van H. Gardner

The Very Rev. Van H. Gardner, longtime dean of Baltimore’s Cathedral of the Incarnation who showed a commitment to justice, died Jan. 11 at his home in the city, at 74.

Gardner grew up in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, and trained as a history teacher. After several years in the classroom at a vocational high school, he answered a call to ministry. He studied at Virginia Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979. He served at Church of the Messiah in Baltimore’s Hamilton neighborhood before becoming rector of St. Mark’s Church in nearby Pikesville.

He was called as dean of the cathedral in 1987, at a low point in the congregation’s life, and he bolstered the congregation’s ministry to youth. Through a partnership with Sandtown Habitat for Humanity, cathedral members built and restored 15 homes in an economically challenged West Baltimore neighborhood.

During a time of increased violence, Gardner began lighting a candle on an altar in the cathedral to mark the death of each child killed in the city. That symbolic action sparked a commitment to justice and peace for Baltimore’s children, and led to the founding of the Children’s Peace Center and construction of a Children’s Peace Memorial on the grounds of the cathedral.

He was involved in pastoral care to people with AIDS at the Don Miller House and founded the Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance to support immigrants in the community.

He retired from his ministry as dean in 2008 and went on to serve as chaplain of St. Timothy’s School in Stevensville, and as the vicar of St. Luke’s, Carey Street, where he helped found a youth center in the predominantly Black neighborhood. More recently, he assisted at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton.

The avid Orioles and Ravens fan “loved nothing more than to sit with a good Irish whiskey and a book, or to go fishing,” family members said. Gardner is survived by his wife of 52 years, Kathleen, three children, and six grandchildren.


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