The Rev. Clayton L. Morris died at this home in Brooklyn, NY earlier this week. “Clay” was a long time member of APLM and is remembered for his wit and humor, talent at the organ, and his willingness to take risks in liturgical planning that might deepen each participant’s experience of the divine mystery and liturgical tradition. He served several parishes and as Liturgical Officer for The Episcopal Church, as you will read in his official obituary, which may be found here. Though the picture posted here is a bit blurry, it seemed appropriate to show Clay presiding at the new fire of an Easter Vigil.
Clay Morris’s death deepens the grief of many APLM members as it lengthens the roster of APLM Council members lost since the start of the pandemic including:
Canon Robert J. Brooks
APLM’s favorite parliamentarian, and political strategist was lost on 2/29/20, and his funeral was held just as the Bishop of Texas ordered in-person services to be halted. He managed to give those of us able to attend his funeral in Austin one last in-person “Easter” in the midst of Lent and the beginning of the long lock-down, as well as a tex-mex feast. As noted in his official obituary:
“[Brooks] served on Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning’s staff as the national Episcopal Church’s Director of Government Relations for 10 years. During that time, he represented the public policy positions of the Church to the White House, Congress, Executive Branch, diplomatic community and foreign heads of state and government. He played a back-channel role for Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning during peace negotiations in El Salvador.”
On a personal level, APLM members will remember his brightly colored shirts, detailed storytelling, and his laugh in addition to the long list of contributions he made to The Episcopal Church, often behind the scenes at various conventions. His impact as a priest and mentor to many, as well as his political contributions will live on, though the church will be hard pressed to fill his shoes where strategy in church and wider politics are concerned.
Carlos provided a strong and effective lay voice among the largely clerical membership of the APLM Council until his death in August 2020. AP Members will also remember Carlos’ second wife, Trina, as a veteran Coordinator. Their combined organizational abilities served our mission well for a number of years. Carlos invariably insisted that any future liturgical revisions must include and favor the contributions of poets.
While most of Carlos’ career centered in banking and business, Carlos developed a keen interest in music and liturgy, being equally comfortable singing with Eastman School of Music graduate students in a cathedral-size choir or participating in the schola cantorum of a meditative Sunday evening Compline service. In his own faith and practice, Carlos was able to hold together elements of a personal spiritual revival with the mission of ecclesial liturgical renewal that brought him to the work of APLM.
The Council will miss Carlos’ wit, his gifts as a raconteur, and his ability to see the humor in many otherwise fraught situations. Yet it is as one who tirelessly asked about a worship in search of authenticity: “How does this look and feel from the congregation; how does it enhance the full participation of the laity?” that his voice will be remembered and, indeed, treasured.
Long time APLM Council Member and supporter, Nigel Renton left this world on January 10, 2021. He always kept the Council on its toes, cutting through issues to find some detail or other that we had overlooked, and causing everyone to pause and think again. At other times he called us to end debate and take action as described in his obituary which references his wider involvement with all things Episcopal:
“[Renton] was involved in Episcopal Church politics on the national level starting in 1982, acquiring the nickname “The Terminator” for his success in drawing debate to a close.”
The Rector of St. Mark’s Berkeley, where Nigel attended, noted that he was fond of drawing attention to the rubrics on page 445 of the Book of Common Prayer:
“The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.”
How we miss his generosity and ability to call us to the specific tasks that forward the mission of the Church.