Prayers ascend

Fr. Edwards was the rector who brought to recognize that I had a vocation as an adult believer in Jesus, and that my vocation was called to be expressed as a member of the clergy. I’ve just gotten word that he has died:

“Rector and Rebuilder of historic Delaware Church, Harpsichordist, National Cathedral Chaplain: Myles William Edwards, 67, Episcopal priest, died of a brain tumor at his home in Kensington, MD on August 21, 2007.

He didn’t hesitate to rebuild historic (estab 1701) Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green, in New Castle, DE after a disastrous fire in 1980. The rebuilt church was featured in th Feb 84 ARCHITECTURAL RECORD. Rev. Edwards said the ‘three years in exile, while the church was under reconstruction, accelerated the erosion of many of the barriers of tradition and social distinction among us, and led to the Involvement of many more and newer parishioners.'(News Journal, PACE, December 18, 1982). A former parishioner observed that the liturgical reforms he pioneered have become the norm throughout the National Church. An accomplished musician, he was delighted to be asked to play his harpsichord with his group, The Glebe Consort on the NBC Today Show, in 1976, which featured Immanuel church, on the National Register of Historic Places to honor America’s Bicentennial Celebration. When his 8 year old niece became angry with God, after her father died suddenly, he patiently helped her reconnect with her faith. His life was a continuous Illustration of ‘Being There’ whenever he was needed. His energy, gentleness, and tenacity were evident all his life. From the years of practice that developed his enormous musical gifts, his church and diocesan leadership, his generous support of social causes, and to his response to his illnesses. When doctors discovered his brain tumor in 1989, he was given 6 months to live. A biopsy later revealed that he might have 20-30 years to live. Faced with these new options, he decided to end his marriage and look for a new church. Unfortunately, his daughter, Megan died in 1990. Despite these losses, he persevered in the search for a new church, while engaging in secular jobs and playing the organ at Dalgren Chapel at Georgetown University. Medically retired within a few years from the peak of his career, he continued to volunteer at local Episcopal Churches, perform weddings for friends, and ‘supply’ on Sunday services. In 1991, he began volunteering at the Washington National Cathedral. He served there, with an interruption for radiation, until 2002, when Parkinson’s disease forced him to retire. He remained an active reader of history and politics, and sought out new baroque and romantic music for his CD player. He coped gracefully with increasing physical and intellectual impairment, even planning his own funeral service. Rev. Edwards was born in Kingston, PA. On his mother’s side he could trace his ancestry to William Bradford, of the Mayflower. He graduated from Muhlenburg Township High school in 1957. While in high school, he began a long series of Church organist and choirmaster positions which he held throughout college and seminary. He attended Albright College in Reading, PA on full scholarship (his father having died 1 month prior to his high school graduation), majoring In Philosophy and Classical Greek. He moved to Alexandria, VA to attend Virginia Theological Seminary from 1961- 64. During his middle year there, he dated Gail Meier, whom he would later marry in 1992. As a curate in Wilmington, DE he was active in calming the race riots there in 1967-69. After 19 years as Rector of lmmanuel- on- the- Green In Delaware, he returned to this area, becoming rector of St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Fort Belvoir. He resigned from this church in 1989, soon after his tumor diagnosis. He was divorced from his first wife, Brenda, In 1990.

Survivors include his second wife, Gail Meier Edwards; his son, Judson Myles Edwards; daughter-in-law, Tracey Edwards; brother, Alan Edwards; 3 step children; and 2 step grandchildren.”

I’m not sure I can ever express my gratitude to Myles for the effect he had on my life. I can at least say thank you to God for letting me have had the chance to meet him when I did.

Read the rest here: delawareonline ¦ The News Journal, Wilmington, Del. ¦ EDWARDS, MYLES

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...