Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory: August 25, 2022

Erik Larsen

The Rev. Canon Erik W. Larsen, who served the church in Rhode Island, Hong Kong, and his native Connecticut, died unexpectedly at his home on June 9 at 68.

Larsen was born in Hartford and graduated from Trinity College and Episcopal Divinity School. Ordained in 1980, he was curate of Holy Trinity, Middletown, Connecticut, and rector of St. Andrew’s in Marble Dale before moving to Hong Kong for a five-year stint as precentor of St. John’s Cathedral. He returned to Connecticut to serve St. Alban’s, Simsbury, and then became the diocesan canon for transitions. Larsen’s final ministry was as rector of St. Columba’s Chapel in Middletown, Rhode Island.

He was an associate of the Society of St. John the Evangelist and a member of the boards of the Center for Career Development and Ministry, the Society for the Increase of the Ministry, and the Seamen’s Church Institute of Newport, Rhode Island. He loved fishing on his boat and spending summer afternoons on Pleasure Beach.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Karin, their sons, and one grandson.

Dale Petley

The Rev. Dale A. Petley, a Canadian priest who served for 12 years in Oklahoma City, died June 24 at 64.

A native of Moncton, New Brunswick, Petley graduated from the University of King’s College and Atlantic Theological Seminary, both in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was ordained in the Diocese of Fredericton, and after serving as a curate in Derby and Blackville, served as rector of the parishes of Richmond, and Salisbury and Havelock. He was active in youth ministry across the Diocese of Fredericton, and was well-known and loved for his musical gifts, compassion, and sense of humor.

He became associate rector at All Souls’ Church in Oklahoma City in 1997, and was a justice of the Diocese of Oklahoma’s ecclesiastical court, as well as chaplain to diocesan convention. He was also chaplain to the Nichols Hills Police Department and the Oklahoma State Committee of Chiefs of Police. He retired in 2019, returning to his hometown.

Petley is survived by a brother and a sister, as well as several nieces and nephews.

The Rev. Lester B. Singleton, who served the Church of the Mediator in Micanopy, Florida, for 36 years, died June 25 at 80.

Singleton was born in Miami and studied at the University of Chicago and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He was ordained in the Diocese of Chicago in 1967, and began his ministry with a curacy in Illinois and as rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Racine, Wisconsin.

He moved to Micanopy in 1988, becoming vicar of the Church of the Mediator, as well as St. Barnabas’ Church in Williston, Florida. Shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks, when a local pastor staged a burning of Qurans, Singleton organized an interfaith “Peace Sunday” service with a rabbi and an imam, which became a signature annual event for the congregation.

In addition to his parish ministry, Singleton worked for 24 years as a sales manager for AAA Auto Club in Ocala and Leesburg. After his retirement in 2019, he served as a supply priest, leading services until the month before his death. He also wrote book reviews for The Living Church.

Singleton is survived by four children, seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-granddaughter.

John Symonds

The Rev. John William Symonds, rector of St. James’ Church, Downingtown, Pennsylvania, died June 19 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer at 54.

A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Symonds studied environmental planning at Millersville University and Cook College Rutgers, and was director of the Lancaster County Conservancy before answering a call to ministry. He trained for the priesthood at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Seminary of the Southwest, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2009.

Beginning his ministry at St. Mary’s Church in Blair, Nebraska, he returned to his native region to serve as rector of St. James’ Church for the final six years of his life. He was leader of the Downingtown Ministerium and a board member of the Diocese of Pennsylvania’s Church Foundation. He loved hiking, camping, soccer, and spending time on the water and with his young children.

Symonds is survived by his wife, Kim, their three children, and his mother.

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