Remembering Rev. Haydn Barry Evans

Remembering Rev. Haydn Barry Evans

Remembering Rev. Haydn Barry Evans

MAY 3, 1936 – APRIL 1, 2024

Once Barry left his apartment around the corner and moved to Assisted Living at Atria over near the Franklin Institute, we didn’t see him. And he’s been missed. But we understood — he was getting frail and it was hard for him to get out. 

Someone asked me if we would host a memorial service for him. I responded that we’d be honored, but he was after all an Episcopal clergyman, so I suspected that his service would take place in an Episcopal church. 

His youngest son, Collin, called last week to tell me about the plans for the service. He was almost apologetic. I told him we certainly understood. You will see at the bottom of the obituary that his memorial service will take place at Old Swede’s on May 17 at 11 am. 

But Collin and the family wanted to honor Old First and how we were Barry’s church home for these last years of his life. They have asked, in lieu of flowers, that memorial gifts be made to the Outreach Ministries at Old First. 

I will be away in Providence that weekend, marrying Ian and Jess at Beneficent Congregational Church, but we will figure out how Old First can be well-represented at Barry’s service, so his family knows how important he was to us.

***

Haydn Barry Evans, 87, of Philadelphia, an Episcopal pastor, consultant and writer, died on Monday, April 1. Born on May 3, 1936, to Haydn Lewis Evans and Laura Ransom, Barry was dedicated to the hundreds of congregants he served throughout his life and the causes of racial and economic justice. He is survived by his children, Michael, Lauren Lang, Sian, and Colin Evans; grandchildren Jason, Bryce, and Silas Lang; his wife, Elizabeth Eisenstadt, from whom he was separated; brothers Robert and Lanning Evans; son-in-law Larry Lang; and his former wife, Polly Williams.

A graduate of Brown University (‘59) and the Virginia Theological Seminary (‘62), Barry served as a rector to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA, and St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. He later worked as Director of Program at the College of Preachers at the Washington National Cathedral and then the director of the Grubb Institute, an international consulting agency for faith-based organizations. Barry returned to the ministry as an interim rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ambler, PA, and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, PA, among others in the Philadelphia area, before his retirement.

Barry was a fervent advocate for civil rights, participating in the 1963 March on Washington and traveling to Hattiesburg, MS to protest on behalf of African-Americans registering to vote. In a 1964 letter from Hattiesburg, he wrote: “I have never met such a group of mature teenagers as those who are doing most of the work here. Now I must go to the trial of two boys who were arrested yesterday.”

As an amateur player and viewer, tennis was his love. He also relished a great beer, the perfect ice cream from Franklin Fountain, watching films, cooking, eating out, learning about art, and the vibrancy of city life. He cherished traveling and had the pleasure of returning to his beloved England last year, where he spent his early years in seminary at Westcott House in Cambridge.

A memorial service followed by a reception will be held at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church on May 17, at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the homeless ministry at Old First United Church of Christ, where Barry attended in his final years, are appreciated. Information can be found on the church website or by calling (215) 922-4566.

Original obituary can be found here