The gang of six are all gone now--The Rev. David Pritchard died on Saturday.
It was David and Jack and 2 Bills and Haig and another David that made up the Gang of Six. (Actually Haig and the second David weren't there a lot, so, to be accurate, it was the Gang of Four plus two.)
A Clericus is a gathering of all the Episcopal Clergy in a geographical area. But the truth is, most of the active clergy don't show up if you meet every week--as we did each Tuesday in Waterbury. Active clergy think they are too busy to spend an hour and a half sharing communion and talking with coffee. But I never was. And from time to time I'd be the only active priest (along with Andy most weeks) with those 6 retired guys.
When they were all present there was 300 years of priestly experience in the room Better than a post-doctorate seminar for me, to sit at their knees and learn.
What I learned most and learned fair well--was not to put up with the church's BS. Those guys were beyond tolerating BS and I learned at their knees. When you're 50 years into something you've nosed your way down to the basics--and that's what they shared with me--the bare-bones-basics of 'being a priest'.
All but David died before I retired from full time ministry. David endured the move of the Clericus meetings to Cheshire from Waterbury after I retired. Most Tuesdays I'd drive him home to the Masonic Home in Wallingford. On those trips he taught me more--everytime.
Now he is gone and I will miss him.
His last months were not great, but Helen, his wife told me he sang along with a visitor or one of his last days and blessed his grandson's wedding rings for the service on Saturday.
He won't be buried until June 17. And I'll be there to know life is still and over for one I love.
Helen told me she was trying to be 'thankful' instead of 'sad'.
Sounds like something my Gang would have told me....
Rest in Peace, dear mentor and friend.
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