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.
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.
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.