[The Episcopal News] The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd – champion of civil rights and freedom rider, openly gay priest, and author of more than 30 books including the 1965 bestseller Are You Running with Me, Jesus? – will be remembered on what would have been his 100th birthday – Thursday, June 8 – with 11:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist followed by lunch at St. Paul’s Commons, 840 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles
All are welcome for the service, at which Bishop John Harvey Taylor will preside. Lazarus Chapel, where Boyd’s ashes are interred, will be open for prayer and reflection.
Lunch, with a celebratory cake, will be served in the Jonathan Daniels Room where an open mic will be available for anyone wishing to share a brief recollection. A free-will offering of $10 is requested per lunch. Inquiries about the celebration may be directed to diocesan Canon for Common Life Bob Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org.
As diocesan writer-priest in residence, Boyd was based at St. Paul’s Commons (then the Cathedral Center) from 1996 until his death on Feb. 27, 2015, at age 91. He served in this role at the invitation of then Bishop Fred Borsch and Canon Kristi Wallace, first executive director of the Echo Park complex.
From his third-floor office, Boyd served as a spiritual director to various clergy and laypersons in addition to conducting writers’ workshops and penning several books and numerous articles including columns for both The Episcopal News and Modern Maturity, then magazine of the American Association of Retired Persons.
Born June 8, 1923, in Buffalo, N.Y., Boyd ventured to Hollywood in the 1940s and started a career in entertainment public relations, soon joining film star Mary Pickford and her husband Buddy Rogers to form PRB Productions. While a studio executive, Boyd, whose paternal grandfather was an Episcopal priest, perceived the call to ordained ministry and enrolled in the Church Divinity of the Pacific. Upon graduation, he was ordained in the Diocese of Los Angeles in 1955 by then-Bishop F. Eric Bloy at St. Paul’s Cathedral, forerunner of today’s St. Paul’s Commons.
Boyd – who as the “espresso priest” headlined coffee-house readings at venues including San Francisco’s “hungry i” — served parish and campus ministries in Colorado, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Washington D.C. In a 1977 interview in the Chicago Sun-Times, he came out publicly as a gay man.
In the early 1980s Boyd began a 15-year tenure at St. Augustine by-the-Sea, Santa Monica, invited by the Rev. Fred Fenton, then rector, to serve as assisting priest and writer in residence. During these years Boyd helped organize the region’s first AIDS Mass and served as chaplain to the diocesan Commission on HIV/AIDS Ministries.
Boyd was married to journalist-author Mark Thompson, who died in 2016 in Palm Springs. In 2004, their union – then in its 20th year — was blessed by then Bishop J. Jon Bruno at the Cathedral Center, and the couple was married in a 2013 civil ceremony at their home in L.A.’s Silver Lake district.
Boyd’s Episcopal News obituary is here.