At Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Parish Church Corona del Mar, CA yesterday, we celebrated the life of its rector for three decades, the Rev. Canon Peter Haynes, in ancient and modern style. His successor, the Rev. Dr. Shane Scott-Hamblen, worked with Peter’s spouse, Frances, to design a unique service matching Shane’s professor of liturgy gifts with Peter’s stipulations as to readings and readers, hymns and singers — including his friend singer-songwriter the Rev. Bob Franke’s “Thanksgiving Eve” as the offertory anthem, introduced by the tune of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by Peter’s beloved Jagger-Richards. (If it were in the hymnal, which assigns names to melodies, perhaps this one would be “Cherry Red.”)
Peter’s college friends the Rev. Dr. Julie Bryant, back with us all the way from Maryland, where she is serving two parishes, and the Very Rev. Jeanette Repp joined Scott for the commendation. The eloquent eulogists were Andy Guilford and Jeff Rekoon.
Along to celebrate Holy Eucharist and offer a homily, I reflected on Peter’s gifts as an attentive listener and pastor. Frances, who wrote a lovely essay for the bulletin, said he was at his best counseling and comforting those in crisis. Deacons and priests in south Orange County, I among them during my years at St John Chrysostom Church, relied on his counsel and leadership as our dean. Earlier in the day, Facebook friends resonated with the penetrating sidelong glance Peter gave me when I took this photo during a visit to St. John’s in 2015. After I posted it, they reported that they had experienced that look, too, as well as the kindness in the pastor’s eyes.
Bishop Fred Borsch, who made Peter a canon in 2001, was his partner for tennis and Dodger games. Bishop Jon Bruno called on him to stand at his side when he stood up for marriage equity, and he complied graciously, even though some in his parish thought differently in those days. As a Cal undergrad, college chaplain, and priest in Berkeley (ordained in 1973), he shepherded young people who had lost faith in religious institutions but not yet in the Prince of Peace.
Above all, and most of all, he loved Frances and their son, Don, who sat together in the front row yesterday after supporting him through a succession of health setbacks that dogged this vigorous, vital priest since his retirement in 2017. Give rest, O Christ, to your servant Peter with your saints, and may light perpetual shine on him.