Mensch of the Day x 2: Russell and Hunter

My PhotoSusan Russell has a story and Douglas Hunter is a storyteller. Susan's story is her life and Douglas' storytelling is his vocation. She is an Episcopal Priest, a mother, a church leader, a lesbian and someone I am proud to have as a friend. Douglas is a filmmaker, a father, a Mormon, and straight. So, naturally, given the wonders of life, he ends up making a film in which her story is central and they become friends. It's all in a story in the LA Times. Read it HERE.

It's a great story, but there are lots of great stories out there. This one is also in Anglican Land of course, because Susan Russell is a central figure in the progressive arm of The Episcopal Church and the president of Integrity USA. But what I realized in reading this article was that the story was also part of why I believe The Episcopal Church, with all its foibles (and there are many) is still the place in the Christian community of churches where I want to be.

I am proud of my friend Susan, proud of Douglas' faith that took his vocation to her door, and proud that in the credits the name "The Episcopal Church," crops up as home to Susan. It's my home too.

In all the high-toned words from the Primates lips to our ears, no one whispers "well done, good and faithful servants" to all those people whose stories are not easy to hear but whose lives are faithful to God, to God's call in Jesus Christ, and to loving kindness.

Susan and Douglas: Mensch of the Day x 2.


  1. Fr. Mark,
    What a great story! I admire Susan greatly. But, while I would like to get to know Susan better, I do know All Saints Pasadena pretty well. Wilma and I were youth group leaders at St. Matthias in Whittier. Nancy Jenkins, then the Rev. Al Jenkins wife, grew up in All Saints. Far as I know, she still attends. (This couple gets my vote for the all time most wonderful husband and wife but that is another story). We heard about the "shakin' goin' on over at All Saints. We took our youth group to what was one of the first rock masses in the Episcopal Church. What a great event! By a what? Yep, and Episcopal Church! Can you believe it? Well, All Saints has been doing the leading since at least that time. I must say that it has always been a refuge for everyone from everywhere and it stands as a beacon of what we really can become. Hooray for Susan Russell and hooray for All Saints Episcopal Church!

    (Sorry for going on.)

  2. This is a great article! Thanks, Mark for bringing it here. And your are right, they are both menches.

  3. Splendid article.

    While the election and consecration of +Gene Robinson in 2003 may have driven out some from the Episcopal Church, it drew others in. It made me feel proud to be part of so courageous a church. I am grateful that this Church was willing to take this step, even if it meant sharing the internal exile that I and others like me have known all of our lives.
    Compassion, co passio, that willingness to share in others' suffering out of love and solidarity, beyond sympathy and amelioration, that is true Caritas and is Christ like. This church has lived that out, tentatively and imperfectly, but willingly. This is beyond my wildest expectations when I first became Episcopalian 27 years ago.

  4. Thanks for this, Mark. It's been a most interesting ride!

  5. Fantastic article, Fr. Harris. Thank you for sharing it. One note though; the link goes to the second page of the article. Just thought you should know.

  6. Mark, you and I can sit together at the Oscars and when Susan is presented, we can both smile and say, "We knew her when."

    She's quite brilliant, isn't she?

  7. You do realize that it's "mensch", don't you?

  8. Fred...I've seen it both ways... mensch and mench... you are right the preferred spelling is as you have it. I got my spelling from here: http://www.messiahnj.org/yiddish.htm
    and from answer.com as a second spelling. I've heard it pronounced both ways - with a more or less hard c, as in bench, and with a softer lead in sc as in school.

    You are right.. the most often posted spelling is with an sc... so I'll change it. Thanks.


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