I'm grateful for the following information which has been provided by Rev John Burniston.
John left Leeds in 1960 with a degree in Civil Engineering. For the next sixteen years he designed and built roads, bridges and drainage systems in Kent, Lancashire and the London Green Belt.
However, his father’s death in 1971 and a friendship with a onetime Tokyo bank manager led him to ask questions which in turn led, in 1976, to Lincoln Theological College.
Two years later, aged 40, John became a curate in Rugby, a parish with four daughter churches. When he left in 1986, Rugby Parish had become Rugby Team Ministry with six churches in the group.
Whilst there, John learnt a little of hospital chaplaincy; police chaplaincy; ecclesiastical courts; parish magazine editing and reordering churches. He also discovered how to work with seven clergy colleagues of whom two were women deacons waiting to be priested. His favourite occupation had become creating, what he hoped was, enjoyable and thought provoking liturgy. After an appointment in Bicester, in 1998 John was appointed Interim Pastor of St David’s Episcopal Church, Topeka with a congregation of over 500.
On Ash Wednesday 2001, John became Interim Pastor of All Saints Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri.
John’s third and last position with the Episcopal Church was not so much an appointment as a sidle-in. Discovering, in October 2004, a small, forty member, church suffering from a traumatic membership loss, John offered his services and was accepted. His ten year tenure was never official and can best be described as permanent supply priest.
Finally the Diocese found a local priest for St Francis’, Overland Park and John retired on Christ the King Sunday (once called Stir Up Sunday) 2014 after thirty six years of ministry. He returned to England shortly after.
John liked to describe his theology as vaguely radical catholic. His was thinking was based on the Book of Ecclesiastes; John’s Gospel with particular emphasis on the first fourteen verses; the prayer which begins “Teach us good Lord to serve you as you deserve”; the words attributed to Teresa of Avila beginning “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours”; Jack Spong’s writings and John Betjeman’s poem Christmas.
For relaxation John enjoyed reading, listening to Radio 4 and jazz CDs, walked a lot, indulged in Industrial Archaeology which means playing trains (he drove several steam engines) and studying tramways and canals at close quarters; tune ringing s on hand bells; tower bell ringing (his favourite hobby) and solving the more difficult Sudokus.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.