Anglican congregation mourns priest

Members of the Anglican Church of the Epiphany are mourning the loss of their pastor, the Rev. Craig E. Young, who died in his sleep Monday.

"He was just greatly, greatly loved," said Rosamond Sprague, a founding member of the congregation on Beltline Boulevard.

Young, known to his parishioners as Father Young, will be eulogized today in a service led by the Rt. Rev. Paul Hewett, leader of the church's Diocese of the Holy Cross. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery.

Sprague recalled Young, 51, as a larger-than-life presence.

"He was intellectually superb," the retired USC philosophy professor said Friday. "He knew church history inside out, backwards and forwards."

A native of California, Young had led the Beltline congregation since 1994 following his ordination. He ministered to them during a 2003 fire that burned the parish hall and caused smoke damage in the sanctuary.

Young was always quick to provide a mini-history lesson on Anglicanism, which is rooted deeply in ancient Christianity.

Anglicans in America possess ties to the ancient church of the British Isles. Until 1976, they were part of the Episcopal Church in the United States. But when Episcopalians authorized the ordination of women in 1976 and also moved to change the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Anglican Church in the Province of Christ the King was formed.

"The reason the (1928) prayer book is so important is because Anglicans have always been taught through the liturgy," Young said in a 1997 interview. "The prayer book is not just lovely pre-Elizabethan language. We are being faithful to what our predecessors believed in the church."

He liked to describe Anglicans to the uninitiated as "Catholic without being Roman and evangelical without being Protestant."

Young died at the home of parishioners who were longtime friends, Sprague said. He suffered from a heart condition and sleep apnea and would often spend the night there rather than return home after an outing.

She recalling meeting him for the first time in 1994. She noted in her diary then that he struck her as "large, genial and a reader."

"He was just a lot of fun," she said. "I keep thinking of things I want to tell him."

Survivors include his sister, Lisa Young Reuter of Sussex, Wis.; brothers, Curtis W. Young and his wife, Leslie, of Colleyville, Texas, and Chris R. Young and his wife, Jody, of Coal Valley, Ill.; and several nieces and nephews.