In Gratitude for the Reverend Canon Richard A. Norris, Jr

By Sisk, Rev Mark S. | Anglican Theological Review, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

In Gratitude for the Reverend Canon Richard A. Norris, Jr


Sisk, Rev Mark S., Anglican Theological Review


Richard Norris was officially designated Canon Theologian by two of the fifteen Bishops of New York, and he was an advisor to a third. The Diocese of New York has been immeasurably enriched by the four decades Richard offered to us as a priest, theologian, and professor. It is a delight, indeed an honor, to be able to introduce this exceptional genius to those who did not have the privilege of knowing him personally, although it is highly likely that many readers of the Anglican Theological Review are aware of the depth of his knowledge and the clarity of its expression.

An emblematic moment occurred when Canon Norris was the keynote speaker at our 1998 Diocesan Convention, a time when many in society were focused on the impending millennium milestone. He used this cultural climate for the opening of his address, giving him a wide angle from which to comment on the work of the church. As he surveyed some of the changes that had emerged in and around us, he began to share his vision of the church in the new millennium. In his typical self-effacing style, he denied that he was a prophet, not even an amateur prophet like Amos, but simply "an ordinary teacher and interpreter of the Christian 'thing.'" He went on to add that "my personal take on human affairs tends normally to be less than dramatic. There are people who perceive a crisis in almost every turn of events . . . [but] such an outlook has always struck me as . . . born of the need to buy attention with one's headlines. …

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