Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: July 2011

Obituary of the Very Reverend Dr. Guy Lytle

Guy & Maria greeting me outside the Franklin Pearson House in Cowan following my wedding

Guy was a mentor and a great friend and he will be sorely missed.  I would not be where I am today, nor would my ministry be as it is without his care and influence.  I will always remember the hours we spent talking about church history and obscure topics that few others found interesting.  Some of my best times at Sewanee were spent in his classes, or as I worked as his work study student–a job which often consisted of finding reference materials for the latest lecture or essay he was working on.  He once invited me to lead one of his World Christianity classes when he had to be out of town, and he was always encouraging and ready with a joke and smile.  All of these things are simply poor reflections of his care for all of his students, and of his big heart, which made him a pastor and priest to so many who were themselves training to become priests and learning to pastor God’s people.

The Very Rev. Dr. Guy F. Lytle III

The Very Reverend Doctor Guy Fitch Lytle III, Professor of Church History and Anglican Studies, Bishop Juhan Professor of Divinity, and Dean Emeritus of The School of Theology of the University of the South, died on July 15, 2011 in Winchester, TN, of complications of diabetes.

He was born on October 14, 1944, to Nelle Stuart Lytle and Guy Fitch Lytle, Jr., in Birmingham, AL. An avid tennis player, Dr. Lytle won the Alabama Youth Tennis Championship title and went on to compete in the National Youth Tennis Championship. Dr. Lytle graduated from Princeton University in 1966. He was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University in England, and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.
After teaching positions at the Catholic University of America, University of Texas: Austin, and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Dr. Lytle joined the University of the South as Dean of the School of Theology. For eleven years he served the University of the South with creativity and distinction, during which time the School doubled in size, built a new chapel – The Chapel of the Apostles, found financial stability, and gained national prominence. During Dr. Lytle’s tenure, he was a significant supporter of theology and the liturgical arts, and vastly increased participation of Sewanee students in world mission outreach and cross-cultural experiences. With his wife Maria, he developed programs in Hispanic ministries and attracted significant numbers of Latino students to the School. Above all, Dr. Lytle was an Episcopal priest of unwavering commitment to his Lord, Jesus Christ.

He is survived by his wife, Maria Rasco Lytle, of Sewanee, TN; his brother, Stuart Lytle, Newburyport, MA; his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth Lytle Knowles and Joe Knowles, of Lynchburg, VA; his daughter, Ashley Lytle, of Atlanta, GA; and his grandchildren, Madeline, Sophia, and Jacob Knowles, of Lynchburg, VA.

The family will greet visitors on Monday, July 18, from 12:00-1:30 PM at the University of the South’s Chapel of the Apostles, Sewanee, TN. The funeral service will follow at 2:00 PM, with the Right Rev. Don Wimberly officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Dr. Lytle’s memory to the School of Theology Dean’s Discretionary Fund for student financial needs.


Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind;
and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we
return. For so did you ordain when you created me, saying,
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All of us go down
to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia.

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting. (BCP, 499)


I have two items to share in thanksgiving for our country today.  The first is a prayer (actually a thanksgiving), the second a poem that I’m sure many will recognize.

First, the thanksgiving:

Almighty God, giver of all good things: We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of this land.  They restore us, though we often destroy them.

Heal us.

We thank you for the great resources of this nation. They make us rich, though we often exploit them.

Forgive us.

We thank you for the men and women who have made this country strong. They are models for us, though we often fall short of them.

Inspire us.

We thank you for the torch of liberty which has been lit in this land. It has drawn people from every nation, though we have often hidden from its light.

Enlighten us.

We thank you for the faith we have inherited in all its rich variety. It sustains our life, though we have been faithless again and again.

Renew us.

Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun.  Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice, and to abolish poverty and crime. And hasten the day when all our people, with many voices in one united chorus, will glorify your holy Name.  Amen.

And now the poem:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus, 1883

As I celebrate the birth of our nation, and out many accomplishments, I pray we’re able to honor the spirit of this thanksgiving and these verses.

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