Today marks the 238th Anniversary of the birth of our Nation and while all kinds of celebrations will be taking place, I am also waking up to great sadness of hearing of the death of a wonderful man. The Venerable Anthony Turney was born to eternal life in the wee hours of this morning after a three year fight with cancer. His passing at the age of 76 came on the 38th anniversary of his becoming a United States citizen. (He was born in England).
Anthony was not a close friend of mine, but someone I knew because of his work. I new him mostly as a deacon in the Episcopal Church, a deacon who truly lived his ministry. This picture from a Marriage Equality protest (that's him on the right) was typical Anthony. He did the hard physical work, but also was right at home with arts and culture and even simple things like gardening.
I remember seeing him often at Grace Cathedral for Evensong. What a rich lovely voice he had. When he was in the room, you knew he was there, and yet he was there boasting or being pretentious.
Usually seeing him in liturgical vestments or at least with a clerical suit, I was amazed to see his incredible physique once at an AIDS awareness event. His work for various HIV/AIDS causes was quite amazing. He was for a time the CEO of the NAMES Project Foundation. He also made a number of trips on his bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of AIDS LifeCycle.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he was one of several people from Grace Cathedral who helped in rebuilding a home for a woman who had lost her home in that disaster. I wasn't there, but remember the marvelous uplifting stories of people working together, that he told afterward.
So many stories will be shared in the days and weeks ahead about Anthony because he truly was that great and I have no doubt at all that we are so much better of because Anthony Turney came our way. Anthony Turney truly made a difference.