Resurrection Chapel National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dear Friends,

For those who are not already aware, it is my sad duty to inform you that this past Tuesday my dear friend and collaborator, The Rt. Rev. Richard Hammond Price, OCC, died of complications related to a chronic condition with which he struggled for the last couple of years.  His beloved bride Barbara was with him at the end, and relates that it was peaceful and indeed grace-filled.  I ask your prayers for support and comfort for Barbara and the rest of the family.

This is a hard blow for me, as I know it is for many of you who have known Richard over the years and been regular followers of this blog. 

Strength of faith does not cancel out the real loss that comes when those we love die.  Conversations never to be had, meals never to be shared, life’s absurdities that will never again produce shared laughter; all of these must be acknowledged as we pass through our grief and mourning. 

But, equally, when we come to loss as persons of faith, we must never forget that we do so as Easter people.  Richard’s rock-solid conviction of the power of Christ’s resurrection to free us from the fear and power of sin and death undergirded his life, his ministry and his own path through illness.  We have hope, he would remind us, not in some amorphous form of life after death, but in a sanctified rest and ultimate sharing in Christ’s resurrection, raising us to the vital, embodied life of the world to come.

Working together on “To Speak Now of God” was for both of us a fulfillment of a wish we shared years ago to collaborate on a worthwhile joint ministry.  As friends and colleagues we informed and enlightened one another for more than 40 years, finding our respective paths in ministry a joyful, profound and often amusing adventure.  During those years we witnessed the public discussion of faith become polarized, politicized and ultimately trivialized to the point where serious public discussion of life is now carried on without reference to its inner or its transcendent meaning.  “Spiritual” has become a term of such ambiguity that it is practically useless.  In such a time we believed that discussion of God is important, and hoped to create a setting in which that could happen. 

I still do.

What happens to this blog now is presently unclear to me.  In our collaboration we worked closely on every piece, and while each of us wrote in our own voice, both sets of fingerprints were on every posting.  That will no longer be possible.  On the other hand, we shared the project long enough that a kind of trajectory was becoming clear to us both, and I feel called to try and carry on.  In this I would value input from you who have made the time to read what we have offered.  Suggestions and thoughts might be posted here under “Comments” or you can email me at hmacmullen@gmail.com.  I will, in due course, offer a personal remembrance of Richard, not as a eulogy, which he would disapprove mightily, but as an appreciation of our friendship, which I believe he would consider fitting and appropriate.

Let me close by saying on behalf of Richard, and for myself, that we both appreciated the opportunity to share our thoughts, prayers and occasional visions with you, and we valued the comments we received concerning some of the matters discussed.  What has been deficient has been our own responsibility, and for the rest, to God be the glory!

Howard MacMullen
February 10, 2012

A Service of the Resurrection 
for Richard was held at 
Zion Lutheran Church, 
301 Jefferson Ave, Bristol, PA 
on Saturday, February 18th at 11 am.

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