On the afternoon of April 22, I drove up the Mississippi River to the city of Clinton, Iowa, for a memorial service for one of my colleagues from the California/Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church. The service was for Charles Andrew Tanner-Dorn. Rev. Tanner-Dorn had died on April 16, and I had received news of it in an email from California. I figured that I might be the only clergy colleague from the Cal/Nevada Conference, and I was.
I remembered Charley a little from the late 1970s, when he joined the conference. I was at that time assigned to churches in the San Joaquin Valley of California and Charley was entering the conference after serving as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. I remember him as an affable person. But my reason for being there was not that he was a deep friend, but rather it was an effort to live out, or even embody, the covenant of collegiality and commitment we make to each other as clergy members of the conference.
We make some pretty deep promises to each other, and to God, and to our conference, and sometimes these become inconvenient to live out. This was my little effort to embody the connection.