Since we are rehearsing old history, I wanted to share the news of the passing of a special friend of ours, the Rev. Standrod Carmichael, an Episcopal priest who served 19 years in Chicago (about 1964-1983) before taking a retirement assignment at a little mission church in Galax, VA. in 1983 — shortly before we returned there to John’s hometown in 1984.
In a town the size of Galax (about 6,000), two newcomer families from Chicago quickly learned about each other. We learned that we not only shared Chicago history, but that we also shared Ecumenical Institute history. Standrod and his wife Marietta were on the faculty of a private school (which I recall was largely black) on the Southside of Chicago. Standrod had attended Ecumenical Institute courses and reported that he was at one time interested in joining with this zealot group, but couldn’t get a family consensus. He was very taken with Joe Mathews and the mission of inner-city work. He was part of a clergy group there in Chicago associated with EI. References to familiar sounding theology would frequently appear in his Galax sermons.
He was a good friend of EI, as illustrated by his story: in the midst of the riots of 1968, he was called to help with the evacuation of EI women and children from the riots that had broken out on the Westside. He commandeered a school bus and met a group at the “el” station at Kedzie and Homan and took them to several pre-arranged locations.
Standrod and Marietta were both musical and put those talents to use in the tiny Episcopal church but also in the community where they founded a little opera company and a choral group that brought an enlarged sense of culture to that mountain area. In their declining health they moved to Atlanta several years ago to be near family. Marietta died last year and Standrod died this past weekend after a long illness. We had a recent letter from him. We salute their colleagueship, their gifts of ministry, music and in depth community care, and willingness to risk to help EI folks in crisis. Journey on, dear colleagues,
~~ Lynda and John Cock