I received news last night that Bishop Terry (Terence) Kelshaw met His Savior face-to-face in the early dawn of yesterday after being diagnosed with wide-spread cancer. For those who knew him, you will appreciate God’s kindness in letting his earthly life end on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day as the birds sang at sunrise in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For Bishop Terry, this was the perfect day to die. Above all that he was in this life, he was a Sunday kind of man.
Bishop Terry loved the Church. He loved her when she was dressed up and beautiful. When she was big and accomplished. When she sang loudly and when she wept silently. When she was wounded and suffering. When she was sorrowful and ragtag. When she was many, when she was few and when she was just one. Bishop Terry loved the Church.
No one knew this lavish love more than the people of St. James Anglican Church who Bishop Terry came to lead in a critical time in our history. Our rector had just left following a fall from leadership which devastated our formerly successful congregation. We began to bleed out as people left and the community watched. Bishop Terry was retired and could have embraced the pleasant life of retirement with his dear wife Hazel. But he was asked to come and help us, a struggling beachside congregation. He came not because it would look good on his resume but because He loved the Church … and because his Hazel loved the beach!
And so appeared on the scene these this two Jesus-people, Bishop Terry and his beloved Hazel. They came to care for, to lead and to bind up the wounds of the people of St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, California. They stood calm and steady at the helm of a hurting congregation as they both proclaimed God’s Word with clarity and passion and as they displayed without embarrassment a profound love for Jesus Christ and for one another. They taught us, worshiped with us, laughed with us, ate with us and more than once — more than many times — they held us as we cried.
I was a newly-ordained Anglican priest when Bishop Terry came to be the spiritual leader of St. James where I had been serving on staff for many years. He watched me closely as I ministered, sometimes offering a word of encouragement and sometimes a word of criticism. He said that even though I was a priest, I would be his deacon. Some might say this was a demotion of sorts, but I would learn much as Bishop Terry’s deacon. As I served, I saw His love for Jesus, his love for Hazel and his love for the Church … and so I grew to love Bishop Terry.
But I still didn’t know where I stood with him until after a few months, he called me into his office and asked me to come close and stand next to where he was sitting. Bishop Terry took my hands in his and looked up at me. He told me that when he first came to St. James, he wasn’t sure about me as a woman priest. He was skeptical and he knew that he’d been tough on me at times. Then he really surprised me. His eyes filled with tears and he asked my forgiveness for any time he’d been too hard on me, anything he’d said that had been too harsh. Imagine, a bishop asking forgiveness for such a thing! I knelt down next to him and sputtered, “Bishop, my Bishop. I love you.” We wept together that day. And from that time on, whenever I would see Bishop Terry Kelshaw, I would say, “Bishop, my Bishop” … and we both knew what that meant.
Bishop Terry Kelshaw was a Sunday kind of Man. He loved the Church and I am grateful to have served under his leadership. Bishop Terry Kelshaw loved his Hazel. And even more, Bishop Terry loved His Lord Jesus. How beautiful the moment must have been when he first saw face-to-face the One he loved even more than the Church, even more than Hazel. No wonder the sun rose with such brilliance and the birds sang so beautifully yesterday morning!
Bishop, my Bishop! Thank you for being a Sunday kind of man.