Sermons and Reflections
The Rev. Ralph Miller Carmichael
The Reverend Ralph and his wife Jean Carmichael have been very special friends and wonderful teachers to many vacationers and permanent residents during summers for more than thirty-nine years. Father Ralph was Priest-in-Charge of the Church of the Transfiguration. Jean’s diligent behind-the-scenes work on the altar, coffee hours following the services, and suggestions regarding outreach to the Adirondack community – and the world at large – helped us to grow in Christian Responsibility.
Ralph’s insights and teachings challenged us to think critical about our beliefs and to respond constructively to situations near and far. His own life’s journey from scientist, engineer, theological seminarian, Presbyterian minister, and Episcopal Priest, with a full measure of musical talent, is indicative of his growth as a person. A philosopher, scholar, and student of the world around him, he coupled his talents with a loving and kind concern for all with whom he came in contact. It has been a blessing for us all. We were challenged and grew as a result.
This publication reflects our gratitude and interest in making his teachings through his sermons available to a wider audience. It will serve as a resource for our own continuing reflections and meditations. “Understandings,” at the conclusion, is the summary of his religious convictions. The last two sermons in this collection were delivered in August of 1995. At his request, this publication was delayed, for he had several things that he wanted included as the result of his further thought during the period of his final illness. “Christianity and Other Religions” he delivered on Sunday, August 20, 1995. He died at his Island on Saturday evening, August 26. The final sermon, “How Shall We Understand God” was taken from his computer that night and read at the Sunday service at the Church Of The Transfiguration by Deacon Nancy Rosenblum, who had grown up in his Parish, St. Andrew’s, in Albany, New York.
With thanks to Ralph and Jean, we set his thoughts, delivered at Blue Mountain Lake and at Chapala, Mexico – and their life’s example – into print.
Harriet Barlow Tess Clark Virginia Lawrence
Jan Bartlett Hall Kirkham Al Lowe
Thanks to Paul Carmichael, Jane Bissell, Russell Barrowman, Kabby Lowe and the special congregation at Blue Mountain Lake for their guidance, participation, encouragement, and help.
Thanks also to Connie Blair for her editorial input, and to Ned Landon for preparing the material for printing. Both Connie and Ned are from Niskayuna, New York, and are members of the First Reformed Church of Schenectady.
The Reverend James Brooks-McDonald, Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Schenectady, reviewed the contents and assisted with its preparation.