Almost ten years later I had taken to heart what I found in that Prayer Book and embarked upon the Anglican Way, having been received as a postulant for orders and later ordained deacon and priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev'd Kieth J. Ackerman, SSC, then-Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy and a man whom I'd long admired, was to dedicate a chapel in Mayesville, South Carolina, and I had been invited to participate. Upon arrival I met the priest whom I'd encountered on that December morning and we renewed our acquaintance with considerably more pleasant results (that may or may not have been due in part to the mint juleps that we were enjoying at the reception that followed!). In the course of our conversation I mentioned that I'd heard that he had a source for cloth collars (as opposed to the plastic ones that I had worn up until that point); he paused for a second, said, "This should fit," and literally gave me the collar off of his neck (I was touched and have been wearing cloth ones ever since).
That priest was the Rev'd Canon Craig Young and it was my privilege to get to know him at meetings, worship services, and social events as well as to correspond with him via e-mail and to have him become my friend. In 2007 when his parish, the Anglican Church of the Epiphany, became the Pro-Cathedral for the Diocese of the Holy Cross and he became it's Dean, he invited me to the service and it was my honor to participate. He represented the Anglo-Catholic "face" of Anglicanism while I am more representative of the Protestant one, but we shared a commitment to Evangelical Faith, Catholic Truth, and Apostolic Order that transcended those distinctions. We were both members of Forward in Faith and over time our jurisdictions forged their bonds in the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas. He was fond of saying, "Fr. Collins is the most Catholic priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church;" while that may be disputable, I knew the spirit in which he intended it and I took it as a high compliment.
Craig was a force to be reckoned with, a man with deeply held and forthrightly expressed opinions with a wicked sense of humor. A mutual friend told me of taking him -- wearing his cassock -- into the Back Bar of the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston after an event. When he entered some of the patrons, not really sure what to make of the sight, grew quiet as he approached the bar. When the bartender asked what he'd like, Craig responded, "I'd like a Scotch, and make it a double!" At that point the conversation was restored as the patrons figured out that this guy was alright.
This afternoon news came via email from the Rt. Rev'd Paul Hewitt, SSC, his good and godly bishop, that Fr. Craig Young died peacefully in his sleep last night. He will be missed by his family, his parish and diocese, and all who knew him. I thank God for the privilege of being one who knew him and counted him as a friend and fellow priest in the Church of God. R.I.P.
For a departed Priest
O God, who hast made thy servant Craig to flourish among the Ministers of Apostolic Succession in the honourable office of a Priest: grant, we beseech thee, that he may be joined with thine Apostles in a perpetual fellowship, Through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen --From A Manual for Priests of the American Church, Complimentary to the Occasional Offices of the Book of Common Prayer, 5th edition.