The Bishop’s E-pistle: Treasure

Every so often, as your bishop, I am given an historic treasure. The most recent was at the Rev. Adrian Tubb’s ordination in Holbrook 10 days ago, when the Rev. Norm Burke asked me to come out to his truck because he had something for me.

A sturdy black metal suitcase–it’s a much larger and more substantial version of the portable communion kit that many clergy use today.

The letter accompanying it stated:

“Originally owned by Navy Chaplain Captain Don Shannon who died in action in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. His family received it and gave it to the Rev. B. Norman Burke in the Diocese of Chicago upon whose death it passed on the Rev. Norman C. Burke who used it in the development and ministry at All Saints Church, Sun City; Church of the Advent, Sun City West; St. John the Baptist, Glendale; St. Anthony’s, Scottsdale; St. James, Tempe; Church of the Transfiguration, Apache Junction; St. Paul’s, Payson; St. Augustine’s, Tempe; Chapel Rock Conference Center, Prescott.”

This is a treasure. A quick google search for the chaplain’s name turned up part two of the U.S. Navy History of the Chaplain Corps, which indicates that the chaplain who originally owned this kit was Eugene R. Shannon, an Episcopal priest, who was killed in action on February 21, 1945. May he rest in peace, and rise in glory.

For 75 years since, this kit has been in the service of our Lord, working with two dioceses, eight Arizona congregations and our summer camp. It belongs to all of us, and has touched the lives of many, bringing Jesus to the people of God, wherever they are.

I am so grateful to Norm for this gift. It is a treasure. But like all gifts, this one needs to be used to be fruitful. What congregation–what possible church plant–what dislocated community needs it now? Who hopes to be worshiping in a park or outdoors and needs a little altar and cross?

If your congregation would make good use of this–especially if you’re a congregation that has not yet used it–please let me know, and I will loan it out to you so that it can continue to serve the people of God.