Friday, 18 February 2011 00:00
The Rev. Dr. Ronald Parks Conner, 65, Episcopal priest and scholar, died Jan. 30 of aplastic anemia at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.
He served for a year as the curate of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Hicksville, then moved to Princeton, NJ, and served until 1977 as the curate of All Saints’ Church, as well as on the staff of Trinity Church in Rocky Hill, NJ.
After a year on the staff of his boyhood parish of St. Columba’s in Tenleytown, he received a call to be vicar of St. Martin’s Chapel, Bridgewater, NJ, which he served from 1978 to 1981. Fr. Conner then became rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island, and served as the dean of the diocese’s Providence Deanery.
r. Conner returned to Washington in 1990 and began a 20-year association with several area Episcopal parishes. He officiated and preached regularly as a Priest Associate of St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church, the Church of Ascension and St. Agnes, Christ Church Georgetown and the Parish of St. Monica and St. James. He also served as a chaplain at the Washington National Cathedral (the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul).
Fr. Conner served as a teaching fellow at the General Theological Seminary, a preceptor at the Princeton Theological Seminary, and, in 2010, was appointed as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He lectured regularly at the parishes with which he was formally associated, as well as at St. John’s Georgetown, the Cathedral’s College of Preachers, St. Columba’s and St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Foxhall.
In all of the Episcopal Church, Fr. Conner was one of the most articulate and compelling apologists for the beauty and mystery of the Christian faith. A scholar with an encyclopedic knowledge of theology and church history, Fr. Conner was able to convey the essential truth of the Christian faith clearly and compellingly, often with great humor.
A native of Tenleytown in Washington, he was born in 1945 to Francis W. and Vivian (Parks) Conner. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1963 and earned a Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) in history in 1967 at the University of the South (Sewanee), where he was a member of the Order of Gownsmen and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Called to ministry since youth, Fr. Conner attended the General Theological Seminary in New York City where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (cum laude) (1970) and Master of Sacred Theology (1971). He later earned a Master of Theology (1980) at the Princeton Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Ministry (1982) at Drew University, and a Doctor of Theology (2003) at Boston University.
Fr. Conner was ordained into the diaconate of the Episcopal Church in June 1970 at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Washington, then into the priesthood that December by the Rt. Rev. Jonathan G. Sherman at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City.
Fr. Conner served on the board of the Friends of St. Benedict in the Palisades, was a vice president of the Tenleytown Historical Society, and served as a precinct captain for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.