Fr. Marcus won’t wait on cancer to do God’s work

Father Marcus Cunningham stands outside his church, St. Peter’s Episcopal.

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

Sometimes, all at once.

The Rev. Marcus Cunningham understands this mystery of God all too well.

In January, Father Marcus gave the last rights to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church’s long-time rector, the Rev. Robert James Crawford Brown II.

“I [was] humbled,” Father Marcus said of the opportunity to give comfort to Father Brown in his final moments.

Weeks later, he was selected to stand in St. Peter’s pulpit.

“I know the word ‘coincidence,’ but I believe it was a God-incidence,” he said. “And, as I was praying the Psalms with Father Brown as he died, I think he had a sense that ‘This situation is in good hands,’ and I was really humbled by that.”

The Lord giveth.

“Shortly after I was called here in February,” Father Marcus said, his voice stumbling just a bit. “In late March I was diagnosed with Stage 4A throat cancer.”

The Lord taketh away.

But Father Marcus is far from done doing the Lord’s work.

St. Peter’s brought him to Ripon with a mission: to help the tiny congregation serve the community.

Diagnosis or no diagnosis, he plans to do exactly that, helping bring his congregation together, while aiding it to work more strongly in the community.

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