In memoriam: Peter Southwell-Sander

I received an email today indicating that a dreaded moment had come: the Reverend Peter Southwell-Sander, member and adjunct staff of Old South Church and husband of senior minister Nancy Taylor, passed away Wednesday night. I didn’t get a chance to know Peter well, but I mourn his loss, and what I do know about him makes the loss the more painful: Anglican minister, author of books on Puccini and Verdi (!), satirist (!!), baptizer of one of Mick Jagger’s children (??!?!?), and to the end of his life a tireless proponent for the inclusive welcoming nature of God’s love—and the need to translate that into this world for the poor and marginalized all around us.

Nancy and Peter were a model of grace in the face of a long struggle. I mentioned their long dance together earlier in the week; now I believe he dances free of pain in a better place, and I hope that Nancy has some peace after their long shared struggle together.

It’s not opera, but the music that is in my mind now was written by another Briton who found a home in a different religious tradition:

Alleluia. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Remember me O lord, when you come into your kingdom.
Give rest O Lord to your [servant], who has fallen asleep.
The choir of saints have found the well-spring of life, and door of paradise.
Life: a shadow and a dream.
Weeping at the grave creates the song:
Alleluia. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.