The Rev. Dr. Helen W. Appelberg, a hospital chaplain who founded the Community of Hope, a resource for training lay pastoral caregivers, died April 21 at 91.
Appelberg was born in Blooming Grove, Texas, and earned degrees from Tyler Junior College, North Texas State University, and the University of Virginia. She worked for the national office of the Camp Fire Girls, opened a Scandinavian furniture store, and established a Montessori school in Oklahoma City, where she also served as a family counselor.
Answering a call to ministry, Appelberg enrolled at the Seminary of the Southwest in 1988, and was ordained a year later, when she also worked as a chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston. In 1994, she launched a program for training lay chaplains rooted in Benedictine spirituality that became known as the Community of Hope. The program now operates in 125 congregations across North America and in Africa. For most of her active ministry, Appelberg assisted at St. Martin’s, Houston.
When she retired from hospital chaplaincy in 2022, Appelberg became a visiting scholar at the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She later became director of the university’s Center for Spirituality in Aging, and assisted at several parishes in Galveston.
Appelberg was a member of the faculty and chaplain in Iona School of Ministry in the Diocese of Texas, and established Abundant Living, an annual conference at Camp Allen on the spirituality of aging, which will celebrate its 18th year in May.
She is survived by her daughter, Katrina Marie, three grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
The Rev. Canon David Reineman Forbes, longtime vice dean of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and founding headmaster of the Cathedral School for Boys, died April 26 at 95.
Forbes was born in Palo Alto and graduated from Stanford and Virginia Theological Seminary. He began his ministry at Grace Cathedral, and became canon precentor in 1954, overseeing a series of modernizing changes to the cathedral’s liturgy and playing a key role in the building’s completion and consecration in 1964.
In 1957, Forbes founded the Cathedral School for Boys, which was established as a choir school in the church’s bell towers. He oversaw the school’s construction within the cathedral close in 1965, and played a significant role in shaping its enduring focus on academic excellence and student diversity. He stepped down from his role in 1972, but was a lifetime trustee, remaining active in school life well into his 90s.
Forbes assisted at several other Bay Area parishes, most recently serving as interim priest at St. John the Evangelist. He also founded St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland in 1975. He was active in pastoral outreach to gay men and those with AIDS and started a shelter in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood for homeless people suffering with the disease. He is survived by his three daughters.
The Rev. Anthony Wayne Schwab, who served as the Episcopal Church’s first evangelism officer and helped introduce the adult catechumenate, died May 19 at 93.
A native of Washington, D.C., Schwab graduated from Lehigh University and then prepared for ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary. Advised to gain real-world experience before beginning parish ministry, he worked for a year as a Fuller Brush salesman, and met his wife, Elizabeth, when he knocked on her door.
He began his parish ministry at St. Paul’s, Rock Creek, in Washington in 1954, and served as rector of St. Paul’s, Montvale, New Jersey, from 1956 to 1975. Under his leadership, St. Paul’s grew dramatically, and constructed a new church and education building. The congregation commissioned a rock cantata, A Spark of Faith, and established the Pascack Valley Center with several interfaith partners, offering supportive programming for youth and the elderly.
Schwab became evangelism officer in 1975. He traveled to every diocese to lead workshops and consult on new initiatives and wrote numerous workbooks on evangelism and church growth. He led promotion of the adult catechumenate throughout the church after General Convention approved resources in 1988.
After his retirement in 1993, he established Member Mission Network, an organization focused on helping the baptized see themselves as missionaries in their daily life and work. In recent years he published a series of books focused on lay ministry. Schwab’s last book, How to Live Your Faith, was published two months before his death.
Schwab is survived by his second wife, Renate, four children, two stepchildren, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
The Rev. Canon Matthew Thomas Locy Corkern, a priest with a deep love for liturgy, pilgrimage, and the Anglican tradition, died April 24 at 49, after a difficult struggle with ALS and frontotemporal dementia.
A native of Brookhaven, Mississippi, Corkern earned two degrees in history from the University of Richmond before studying for the ministry at Yale Divinity School. He served on the staffs of St. John’s, McLean, Virginia, and Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, and then became rector of Trinity, Mobile, Alabama, in 2009. Corkern’s final post was nine years as rector of Calvary, Summit, New Jersey.
In the wider church, he served as national chaplain of the Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church and as an officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Corkern had a great love of Canterbury Cathedral, making an annual pilgrimage there for many years and serving as a trustee and executive chair of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral-U.S.
He and a classmate began what has become Berkeley at Yale’s annual pilgrimage to Canterbury, and he led 45 pilgrimages during his 20 years of ministry. He found great joy in seeing the faith of others grow through the experience of pilgrimage, and forged deep friendships with fellow travelers.
He is survived by his parents, a brother, and his son, Preston Coke-Corkern.
The Very Rev. Canon Edmund Bruce Partridge, who wrote a widely used course for training lay readers and had a knack for reviving distressed parishes, died April 23 at 89.
Born in West Orange, New Jersey, to British immigrants, Partridge studied business administration and physics at the University of Pittsburgh and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War before entering General Seminary to train for the priesthood.
He was ordained in 1962, and after a curacy at St. Peter’s Church in Essex Fells, New Jersey, he served for four years on the staff of Executive Council in New York, working especially on the development of lay ministry. He served as rector of St. James’ Church in Wichita, Kansas, for four years, and then returned to the Diocese of Newark, where he served in interim ministry for nearly two decades, helping several troubled parishes to refocus their ministries and begin new seasons of vitality. Near the close of his active ministry, he served for three years as dean of Trinity and St. Philip’s Cathedral in Newark.
In 1969, Partridge wrote The Church in Perspective, a widely used curriculum for training lay readers, and he also taught homiletics at Washington National Cathedral’s College of Preachers. He was a great lover of animals and a classic-car aficionado. He is survived by his wife, Lynn, two siblings, eight nieces and nephews, and his 18th dog, Chappy.
Sister Benedicta Ward, SLG, an Anglican nun who taught for decades at Oxford and was one of the world’s foremost authorities on medieval monastic spirituality, died May 23 at 89.
Born Florence Margaret Ward in Durham, England, she studied history at the University of Manchester before entering the Sisters of the Love of God, a contemplative community, at 22, taking the name Benedicta of Jesus. She would live at the Convent of the Incarnation, the order’s motherhouse, at Fairacres in South Oxford, until the end of her life.
Ward earned her doctorate in history in 1978, studying with Sir Richard Southern at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. She was a fellow of Wolfson and Harris Manchester Colleges, and taught undergraduates for nearly 40 years as a member of the university’s history and theology faculties.
She was the author of 16 books, including the definitive English translations of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Anselm’s Prayers and Meditations. She wrote extensively on Anglo-Saxon spirituality, and drew on her decades of monastic life to write influential treatises outlining the monastic roots of Anselm’s theology and asserting that Julian of Norwich, long presumed a nun, was almost certainly a widowed laywoman with children.
Ward is survived by her sisters in the community.