Gordon Temple & Suzanne Burch

The congregation of St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church is gaining a full-time rector in June. We are losing our Interim Rector, Gordon Temple, and our deacon, Suzanne Burch. Please follow along and celebrate these precious human beings with me.

What do you all like in sermon from a preacher, rector, or priest? Do you want a sermon on philosophies on religion, or do you want to know how to live a religious filled life? St. Augustine a Christian from the 4th century believed reason to be a uniquely human cognitive capacity that comprehends deductive truths and logical necessity, and I have heard sermons associated to his infusion of Christian doctrine with Neoplatonism (most of us are like..’What the heck, and how can I apply that to my daily life?’) I have also seen and heard sermons from preachers/rectors who use works of Thomas Aquinas and his Summa Theologica (God’s thinking and willing, Aristotelian Ethics, and Jesus protects all in both Heaven and earth) and drone on and on for an hour about such. Folks, I don’t need religious philosophy to live by, I need every day acts that represent how we should serve God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For approximately a year, God saw fit that the congregation of St. Martin of Tours in East Brainerd, Tennessee and I had our hearts and minds filled with these types of sermons from Father Gordon Temple.

When Jesus was here on earth, he taught with simple parables (everyday life situations that have heavenly meanings), and that is what I need and appreciate in a sermon. Those are the kinds of sermons Gordon Temple preaches.  I love Gordon’s sense of humor, his smile, his genuine concern for everyone around him, his love of family, and his love of children. The joy this man has in the tone of his voice and the sparkle he has in his eyes as he talks about his wife, his children, and his grandchildren are priceless. He simply loves children. On Father Gordon’s last Eucharist on Sunday, I was holding Carter when he handed me the communion bread. When Father Gordon blessed Carter and touched him on his forehead, Gordon had such a twinkle in his eye, and he tapped Carter on his nose. Carter’s face lit up with a grin. Gordon doesn’t think he is a good teacher in the classroom, but he is great. I don’t know how many times we went past the “hour allotted” in our Sunday school class because we had asked questions and we were intently discussing and enjoying his answers. I also love the fact that he was raised in Chattanooga. He is living history for all of us living in this city. Father Gordon, we love you, and you are an inspiration to all you come in contact with. Thank you for being a reflection of Jesus Christ and for being such a great preacher and shepherd for St. Martin’s.

Gordon Temple: May 15, 2011

We only saw Suzanne act as a deacon for a year, but we saw her love and enthusiasm for taking care of the physical needs of the St. Martin congregation and the community during the 2010 Christmas season. She was glowing during the whole month as we gathered and gave in the name of Jesus Christ in honor of his birthday. She like Gordon uses such finesse in weaving everyday thoughts and feelings into sermons from the Bible especially in the life of Jesus and how we should live like him. Wherever she goes, the congregation will be so lucky to have her. Suzanne, we love you and God bless you.

Suzanne Burch and Gordon Temple: May 15, 2011

A special thanks to our church buddy, Jerry Thurston, for taking these pictures on Sunday and sharing them with me so I can share them with you all.

11 thoughts on “Gordon Temple & Suzanne Burch

  1. Oh how I agree with you. Gordon is way up there in being one the most gentle, sweet, kind, Godly, caring people I know. His sermons are always wonderful.
    He will truly be missed by me!

    Suzanne it truly a wonderful sweet lady too

  2. Haven, your are right on with your comments. Fr. Gordon and Suzanne are very special people and have meant the world to St. Martin’s. Now some good news, Fr. Gordon and Suzanne will actually be with us for two more Sunday’s. Their last Sunday with us will be May 29th!

  3. Sunday’s service was such a fitting tribute to the ministries of Gordon and Suzanne. One day they will see in our children the fruits of their blessed labors. Thanks be to God for the parts you have played in enriching all our lives. What a team the two of you have made! And Suzanne, I’m really going to miss you helping me pull the Acolytes together! May God continue to bless and keep you both and hold you in the palm of His hands.

  4. Haven, nicely written. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Gordon and Suzanne will truly be missed. Wish y’all could have stayed for lunch!

  5. Haven–Cheryl Roddy shared your beautiful comments about Gordon and Suzanne. We have been so lucky to know both of them for a long time. Kay and Gordon were frat brothers at UC before we left to go to that awful place in Auburn, Alabama. Most of you may not know that he served as a deacon at St. Martins many years ago. Suzanne’s lovely presence in a hospital room or in our sanctuary have left all of us with thanksgiving for her having loved and cared for all of us for so long. And–what can we say about Fr. Gordon–he has been a beacon, a wonderful example a true Man of God—-And- he does it all with a wonderful sense of humor and love. He has loved the pre-school and said the other day that the children make him feel ten feet tall! I have a big plan—-If we all work together, perhaps Fr. Jim will ask him to come and share his love with us once again after the summer is over and Haven and Gordon have had some fun rest. We pray Suzanne and Gordon will once again become a “Little” bit more in our lives. How fortunate we have all been. Betty

  6. Wow, I am slow to read this—how wonderful. Haven you brought tears to my eyes. I have said a million times and especially when Garrett and I went through Cursillo — our lives changed when we walked through the red doors of St. Martins, but our lives were blessed by Gordon and Suzanne. They saw strengths in us that we didn’t know we had. Our lives are constantly blessed by all of our friends at St. Martin’s. Thank you so much for posting and sharing such a beautiful tribute to two incredible people.

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