October 16: Charles Duell Kean+ (1963)

On January 27, 1954, Bishop Angus Dun installed Charles Duell Kean as the twelfth rector of Epiphany Parish. As a guide for its search for a new rector, Epiphany’s vestry determined that it wanted a man under fifty who “must be evangelical or orthodox and have high spiritual qualities, be a preacher, have an interest in young people, and an ability at organizing and directing church work.” Kean was born in West Point, New York, but of Virginia ancestry. He attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and worked for five years as a newspaper reporter with the Providence Journal. Pursuing a call to the ministry, he attended General Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1937. Kean served parishes in New York City; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Kirkwood, Missouri before coming to Epiphany. He brought with him his wife Jane and three children, one of which (Anne Schmidt) is still an Epiphany parishioner today.

Dr. Kean served as an instructor at George Washington University until 1960 when he was named associate professor. He was nationally known as the author of numerous books and pamphlets. As articulate in the pulpit as with the pen, Dr. Kean expressed himself on many current issues and was outspoken on civil rights. He served many years as secretary of the Episcopal Joint Committee on Approaches to Unity. In 1960 with many Protestant clergy opposing the election of Catholic candidate John F. Kennedy, Dr. Kean lashed out at the bigotry of such a position.  In 1963, Kean praised the work of Pope John XXIII in opening the door on church relations. After only nine years, Dr. Kean’s ministry came to an abrupt end on October 16 when he suffered a heart attack in the church parking lot. Washington Star Religion Editor Caspar Nannes stated, “Washington lost a dynamic, imaginative and enthusiastic force for good when Dr. Charles Duell Kean, rector of Epiphany Episcopal Church, died suddenly last week.” After his funeral at Epiphany, Dr. Kean was buried in Epiphany’s plot in Rock Creek Cemetery. With the passing of his wife in 2008, Charles and Jane Kean were placed side by side in Epiphany’s new columbarium.

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1 Comment

  1. JAMES MAIGRET

    Mon 16th Oct 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Was a Mentor to all and good friend.

    Reply

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