Sunday, October 11, 2009

Remembering Edwin Powers Elliott, Jr.

Among the various experiences that I've had in my life was that of serving as a Correspondent for The Christian Observer from 2004-2006. I had been introduced to that journal while still in seminary and had had various interchanges with sundry members of its editorial staff through the years. When her editor, the Rev'd Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, Jr., called to ask if I would begin covering Anglican news for them, I was flattered and accepted immediately!

The Christian Observer's readership was then, and is now, primarily Presbyterian and Reformed. Edwin had had an abiding interest in Anglicanism through the years having known bishops, clergy, and laity in the Reformed Episcopal Church and having done some editorial work for the REC through the years; he'd also known known the late Dorothy Faber, founder of the Christian Challenge -- which in the years before David Virtue, Kendall Harmon's Titus One Nine, and the good folks at Stand Firm was the Anglican alternative press -- and had continued sharing stories and collaborating with her and later her son-in-law, the Rev'd Lewis Traycik and, following his death, Auburn Faber Traycik (daughter of Dorothy and widow of Lewis). As Edwin put it, Anglicanism was then among the more interesting parts of Christendom (were that we weren't living in such interesting times!) but that the hierarchical structure and lingo could be a bit confusing to his Presbyterian readers (little did he know, it can get confusing for Anglicans as well!) and he hoped that I, as a former Presbyterian, could translate to some extent.

I hope that I was successful in doing so for those two years. I know that I enjoyed it and stepped down only because demands on my time made it difficult to do so for the weekly digests to which I contributed. Along the way some of my writing was reprinted in the Christian Challenge and, curiously, in Faith in Focus , the magazine of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand. While my formal association with the Christian Observer ended in the Fall of 2006, our friendship continued. I had developed an interest in the Loyal Orange Institution and discovered shortly before my initiation in 2007 that Edwin was a brother Orangeman. Shortly thereafter, when I was considering petitioning my Masonic Lodge for membership, Edwin, who was serving at the time as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, was one of a couple of Christian clergymen whose opinions that I respected that I talked to about that decision and he was one of my sponsors. This coming weekend I will, D.V., undertake some of the work in the York Rite, in which Edwin was long active.

Although active in publishing and journalism, Edwin was first and foremost a pastor. He was Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Manassas, Virginia, for many years serving for a time alongside his father, who was also a Presbyterian minister. He was also a key leader in the Reformed Presbyterian Church -- Hanover Presbytery.

The Rev'd Dr. Edwin Powers Elliot, Jr., suffered a major heart attack this past Friday night, 9 October and went nearly an hour before EMS personnel could could resuscitate him. He suffered significant brain damage and was on a ventilator, unable to breathe on his own. This morning his family met with a neurologist who informed them that his brain was swelling and that that would kill him regardless of what was or was not done. Life support was removed after giving his family a chance to say their goodbyes and at 5:11pm he departed this life for the next and exchanged his earthly body for the glories of Heaven where he, and all of the faithful departed, await glorified bodies in the General Resurrection.

May my former editor, friend, fraternal brother and, most importantly, brother in Christ rest in peace and rise in glory and may God's grace comfort his family at this time of grief. I thank God for the privilege of having known him!

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