Prayers for The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd

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UPDATE: Malcolm Boyd has died

From Bishop Bruno: It is with a full heart that I write to notify you of the death this afternoon of the Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd, writer-in-residence of the Diocese of Los Angeles, as a result of severe complications of pneumonia.

More here.

From the Diocese of Los Angeles:

“Are you running with me, Jesus?”

“‘Going gently…’ The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd — whose writings on
holy dying include this title adapted from the poetry of Dylan Thomas
— today has entered private hospice care due to severe complications
of pneumonia. Bishop Jon Bruno requests continuing prayers for
Malcolm, who is resting peacefully, and for his life partner, Mark
Thompson.

“While Malcolm, 91, can no longer receive visitors, we his friends are
invited to join in his most familiar prayer: ‘It’s morning, Jesus.
It’s morning, and here’s that light and sound all over again.

‘I’ve got to move fast . . . get into the bathroom, wash up, grab a
bite to eat, and run some more.

‘I just don’t feel like it. What I really want to do is get back into
bed, pull up the covers, and sleep, and here I’ve got to run all over
again.

‘Where am I running? You know these things I can’t understand. It’s
not that I need to have you tell me. What counts most is just that
somebody knows, and it’s you. That helps a lot.

‘So I’ll follow along, OK? But lead, please. Now I’ve got to run. Are
you running with me, Jesus?'” ~ via Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

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John Davis
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John Davis

When I was just a 19 year old kid at a large university, five of my fraternity brothers and I were taken to an event by our Episcopal college chaplain, Father Hal Anderson, to hear Father Malcolm Boyd speak about the civil rights movement and the campaign for voter registration of blacks in the South. There were about 1000 college kids there, and we were all spellbound by this young priest. He captured our imaginations with his compelling stories of the quest for justice going on in the South. While we were ray-rah fraternity boys without much knowledge or concern about the struggles for equality going on, we were all transformed that evening as young men. It's hard to believe that an experience of hearing one man at one event could have had that much impact on us, but that evening became a watershed in each of our lives. Our awareness of the cruelties going on in certain parts of the country against people of color made us face the paradox of a nation founded upon the principles stated in the Constitution, that: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" and the realities that disenfranchised people of color experienced in America. None of us remained the same after that evening. As the years went by and I read Father Malcolm poems and books, I held that evening in my heart as a pivotal experience that changed not only my awareness but my life perspective. Several decades later I had the opportunity to go hear him lecture at a conference in LA. I attended and heard his words again speak to my life in deeply profound ways. At the question and answer session I took the microphone and asked him a question after telling him of my experience years earlier as a college kid hearing him that evening. He jumped off the stage and engaged me in conversation in front of the entire audience. He had a way of making you feel that you were the only one in the room as he engaged me in dialogue about the things that matter most in life. While the intervening years had changed what he looked like (from a handsome young college chaplain with steel blue eyes to a mostly bald man who had put on some pounds), I experienced the same rush of emotions I had years earlier when he talked about Jesus essentially being only about love and justice in the world. There was none of the talk so common in Christianity about sin or about heaven and how to get there. Those steel blue eyes were the same and those words pierced through me as they had done so many years ago reminding me of the imperative and importance of living a life aware, mindful and somehow engaged in ways that make the lives of those marginalized among us better and hopefully recognized by government and all people as equals, as the founding fathers stated. It was yet another riveting experience with this man who had an amazing hold on getting people to wake up to the inequities in our society and culture. After that lecture I talked with him and shared with him the impact he had had on me and my young friends so long ago. We decided to go to lunch in a couple of weeks, which we did, and after that we became friends. My wife and I invited Malcolm and Mark to spend the weekend with us in Santa Barbara. That was an exciting weekend because we had time to talk about life's experiences and perspectives and our own life journeys. Just the four of us had a long dinner together, and it was one of the most special evenings I can ever remember. Malcolm took us back to his Hollywood days and told wonderful stories of movie stars he had known and worked with and life during the Golden Era of Hollywood...Mary Pickford and all. He had us doubled over in laughter with great tales. Later that year a friend of mine and I convinced Malcolm he needed a website so that his works and his life could be shared with others more readily. We worked on that project for some time and were fortunate to spend several wonderful evenings with Mark and him for dinner at their home. We gathered his pictures from his archives for the website of his early days in Hollywood, then as a young civil rights activist as a priest and his legendary career being a campus pied piper getting young people's attention about civil rights and the Viet Nam War. Of course the many books he authored and his disarming poetry captured the imaginations of a generation and helped our society face itself and change. I am blessed to have known this wonderful sage of a man who had shaken me out of my own complacency and woke me up to the challenges that so many people faced in our society. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu had it right when he called Father Malcolm a "genius" in getting people to see God in homeless people out in the street. That uncomfortable perception as expressed in his books and his poetry is just exactly what Malcolm did to shake a lot of people out of their unawareness and into action for the greater good of mankind. History has already recorded what a difference a man like Malcolm made in changing society.
God Bless my friend Father Malcolm. We and countless thousands share Mark's loss. We world in general and our country in particular is a better place for his having lived and worked and made his presence known and felt among us. JD

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

In the earliest days of the American Civil Rights movement in the late 50s and throughout the 60s, Malcolm Boyd was there running with Jesus and with the Freedom Riders, Martin King, Malcolm X and the marchers in Selma.

In the 70s, Fr. Boyd continued running with Jesus, this time as an out gay man. I remember that his was a lone voice in the wilderness at a time when few Christians spoke for the sacredness and sanctity of gay men and women as children of God.

Fr. Boyd was not a tribal social activist; he ran wherever our Lord took him. For that, he forever earned my greatest respect and admiration.

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Joyce Schultz
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Joyce Schultz

Fr. Boyd touched my life fifty years ago, when I was 15, with his book "Are You Running With Me Jesus." It has been a wonderful companion on my spiritual journey and learning to pray wherever I am. Many a prayer of thanksgiving for the beauty of the world around me has been offered while I sit in afternoon traffic and focus on that beauty instead of my impatience with the traffic delay.
Oh, the sunsets I've enjoyed sitting in my car thanks Fr Boyd!
Peace and love to his family, friends, and followers.

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Jon Nalley
Guest

Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd, you were so important to me as a 19 year old coming out in 1978. Your book "Take off the Masks" was like "manna from heaven." Father Malcolm, I will always appreciate your courage and be grateful for your importance to me as a role model. Love to you blessed Father Malcolm!

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Wanda
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Wanda

Jesus is running with you, Malcolm. Rest in peace.

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Ann Fontaine
Member
Ann Fontaine

Wanda: please sign your full name when commenting. Thank you, editor

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