The Reverend John Gerald Barton Andrew OBE, DD, who was born in Yorkshire, England, was a priest in the Church of England and served as domestic chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, a position from which he was called to Saint Thomas in NY. He had a distinguished tenure, in which his preaching, pastoral presence and leadership of the liturgy drew large congregations to the Church, an achievement especially notable during an era of general decline in the Episcopal Church. He was awarded honorary degrees from several Episcopal/Anglican seminaries in recognition of his work.
John Andrew was a friend and confidant of many church leaders both within and outside Anglicanism. He was a particular friend of Terence Cardinal Cooke and was a promoter of ecumenical relations between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
Father Andrew’s ministry was remarkable for his ability in social conversation, humor, and joyousness – for which reasons many were eager to claim him as their friend. The secret of his influence was a gift he received and passed on from Archbishop Ramsey – namely, his transparent faith in Jesus and the miracles of the Gospel.
After a brief retirement to England, Father Andrew returned to New York in 1999 where he eventually returned to Saint Thomas at his successor’s invitation to be the “junior curate” as Rector Emeritus.
John Andrew, faithful priest and XI Rector of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, entered into glory at 5:20am (EDT) on Friday, 17th October 2014 at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
On Wednesday evening, Father Andrew had dinner with Bishop John O’Hara, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. On his way home, Father Andrew suffered a massive cardiac episode and collapsed. He was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital but never regained consciousness.
Himself an enthusiastic heraldist John designed so many coats of arms for people that were accepted by the College of Arms in London that he was given the unofficial nickname of “Manhattan Pursuivant”. Requiescat in Pace.
I knew John when I lived in New York City in the 1980 and was a guest of his on numerous occasions in his well appointed apartment. He was an excellent host and story teller. All of the above is true and maybe he would have been a good Bishop. But now he, awaits heaven with the shortest possible delay.
I knew John from his days in Preston quite a long time ago -he was very kind and helpful to me in my heraldic interests and we corresponded when he was in New York. I last saw him on a visit to London some years ago -he will be missed and I shall miss the funny but never mal;icious gossip (albeit true!!)