Celebrating the life of Rev. Daniel J. Burke
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Born in Mineola, NY, Dan graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and received a bachelor’s of divinity from the Episcopal Theological School. He was assistant rector at St. Andrew’s Church, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Episcopal chaplain to the University of Michigan during the turbulent 60s, when he co-founded Canterbury House, an off-campus, coffeehouse ministry to which all were welcome and where he counseled students and booked musicians including Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. He then taught bioethics as director of the Program in Health and Human Values at the University of Michigan Medical School. Arriving in Providence, RI, during the blizzard of ’78, he became rector at St. Martin’s Church and led that parish for 18 years, during which time his ministry helped many others hear their call to the priesthood. He also pursued his lifelong interest in interfaith dialogue as director of the Abrahamic Accord, and served for 15 years on the board of Swan Point Cemetery. For many years a summer vicar at St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea, Little Compton, he settled there as vicar from 1997 until his retirement three years later.
Dan is survived by his wife of 50 years, Cynthia C. Burke, and three children, Julia C. Burke, of Providence, RI, Alexandra A. Burke (Christopher P. Birch), of Brookline, Mass., and Justin D. Burke (Kevin J. Allan), of Monterey, Mass. He was predeceased by his first wife, Nancy Cole Burke, and two siblings.
Dan was a man of uncommon grace and intellect, whose inclusive and compassionate ministry radiated outward with each Eucharist, baptism, marriage and burial. He preached in a mellifluous voice with a command of scripture, a gift for language and an eye cast forward as the world slowly caught up to his radical vision of a just society. Out of his clerical collar, he favored bow ties or tennis whites, enjoyed the company of his many friends and colleagues, and followed his boyhood sports teams with zeal. Dan loved his family and served his community with perfect humility.
A service will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Orchard Ave. Providence, at 11:00 AM on Saturday January 31st. The family requests that donations be made to the Rhode Island Veterans Home, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America or St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea.
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