A good friend and mentor passed away last week. Fr. Lintner was fearless in that he spoke what was on his mind and did not sugar coat the truth. He clearly loved St. Andrews and was very concerned for its future. When Sherry and I first started coming to St. Andrew's, Fr. Lintner was celebrating the eucharist once a month. His age was starting to chip away at him and walking as well as standing for long periods was difficult. He held the service in the guild hall because he could sit for the service.
I remember at the first service we attended in which he was the celebrant. When it was time for us to share the peace, he shook my hand, looked at me and said, "I don't want this church to die." I was really taken aback by what he said. My awkward response was, "I won't let it."
I have thought about that moment a lot. I don't know why I said that because I do not have any special skill in keeping churches alive but after he said it I felt like I had been given a mission. Fr. Lintner had that kind of influence on me. I am sure he had a similar impact on others.
He and his wife Gloria were a team. They supported each other in everything. I can still hear Gloria saying, "Now Richard." There was a clear love between these two beautiful people and my wish is that Sherry and I will be like them when we reach there age.
Gloria is still with us and I am sure her loving family will be there to support her as her journey continues.