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A Tribute to Ed Bacon

On the Retirement of the Rector

A Tribute to Ed Bacon
Saturday, April 23, 2016 James Walker
photo of Ed BaconEd Bacon

Permanently imprinted in my memory is my first one-​to-​one meeting with Ed Bacon when he became Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena, in 1995. We met in my office, and I was well-​prepared with a teeming brain and stacks of documents to show the new rector how we did things at All Saints.

After sitting down, he asked, “How are you doing with the transition?” 

This took me completely off-​guard, but I thanked Ed for asking and then proceeded to verbally vomit out all that was going on in my life. In addition to the enormous transitions at All Saints, I was going through the break-​up of a long-​term relationship, and my dearest friend had been murdered just months before. It was a tough time to keep positive and hopeful.

Ed was terrific — thoughtful and caring. He listened to me and communicated how much he was looking forward to working with me. 

This first one-​on-​one meeting formed the foundation of what has been an amazing clergy-​musician relationship of 21 years. I meet with the rector almost every week to plan for liturgies 3–4 weeks in advance, to review and to do long-​range planning. More often than not, these sessions lead to theological reflection that will shape and guide our community in worship. 

These weekly one-​to-​one planning meetings, like the first, have also often veered from the planning agenda into deeper life discussions and sharing of experiences. I am so deeply grateful for these moments together and will greatly miss them.

One of the most wonderful outcomes of that personal relationship has been my growth in finding my voice of disagreement and learning the tools to communicate those disagreements effectively. There have been many times over these 21 years that Ed and I have disagreed about one thing or another, and in the safety and trust of our relationship, I have also made huge improvements in receiving constructive critique without taking it personally.

Our personal working relationship has been an enormous gift in my life.

As the leader of All Saints, Ed has been a fierce and courageous voice for the marginalized. He has courageously challenged the All Saints community into engagement of so many important issues that challenge our human family. I am grateful for his leadership. 

It has been a rich journey together, and I wish Ed and Hope all the best in their new chapter.