One of the true lay visionaries in the Anglican Church in North America, and a founding member of the American Anglican Council and honorary Canon thereof, has been promoted from our ranks in the Church Militant, to the ranks of the Church Triumphant. Let me share a little about Canon Trane. He was a long-time member of St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California. His vision and his willingness to use his personal resources enabled the parish to acquire strategic land adjoining the original footprint, and in time, to raise the funds to build new facilities.
My predecessor at St. James and the long-time rector Fr. John Ashey, Canon Phil Ashey’s father, served for some twenty-two years. Frank Trane was always ready to help out, with ideas and resources in supporting Fr. John, the parish and the Diocese of Los Angeles, and when finally, there was a vacancy, Frank Trane was one of the search team that came to South Dakota and convinced me to pick up where Fr. John had left off.
When a group of solidly conservative and orthodox Episcopal Bishops, both retired and active, formed an organization called the Irenaeus Fellowship, Frank saw that there was a need to finance getting the retired conservative bishops to the Episcopal House of Bishops’ meetings, because they could still vote, but without a diocese to pay the travel and attendance costs most of them couldn’t afford to go. Frank covered that, and the positive effect that produced helped hold the line for orthodoxy years longer.
When conservative, orthodox Episcopal laity, clergy and bishops decided to gather and take counsel together to resist the heterodox liberal infiltration of all levels of the Episcopal Church, Frank was there for Briarwood I, and then later Briarwood II. Out of these conferences the American Anglican Council (the AAC) was formed, and Frank Trane was a founding member using his personal resources to nudge it forward and keep it moving. Although there were several sources of funding for the Council, when things ran short the President, Bishop Jim Stanton, would phone Frank Trane for quick help.
In January 2001 the then Very Reverend Canon David Anderson, still rector of St. James Episcopal Church, was asked to be President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the American Anglican Council on a part-time basis, Frank Trane stayed on the AAC Board and shared his vision, strategy and resources. When the Episcopal Church had its triennial General Conventions, and the risk of theological mischief was always to be found, Frank made sure that he and a team from the AAC were present. When it came time for St. James Church to leave the Episcopal Church, Frank assisted in the funding of the years of legal defense of the property. Many of us saw the Episcopal Diocese play the legal system and find biased judges, and finally prevail, but Frank helped battle against them to the very end.
In the early days of the ACNA, Frank modeled the very “conciliar leadership” the AAC stands for today. As a lay leader with the considerable vision God had given him, he was not afraid to bring matters of doctrine and discipline within the Church to the attention of bishops and clergy—and then to work shoulder-to-shoulder with clergy and bishops addressing those very issues.
Frank not only had a major role in my life, but also in the life of Canon Phil Ashey, the present CEO and President of the AAC. Canon Phil grew up knowing Frank Trane from the time he and his family moved to St. James in 1966, when Phil was only 10 years old. Frank was a model of conscientious Biblical faithfulness and encouragement for Canon Phil every step of the way—just as he was for so many others. Now, Frank has gone on ahead.
Although his family at one time owned the Trane Company, famous still for heating and air conditioning, and as the head of it was very comfortable in the business world, he was quite the Navy man and seafarer at heart; Frank loved the water and the last two yachts that he owned, the Hallelujah I and II. He was at heart, a captain. Frank filled such a leadership role in so many ways, but in my memory, I will see him as captain of the Hallelujah as she broke free of the Newport harbor breakwater and moved into the open water and the swells coming from Catalina. We will have to hold his dear memory in our hearts until we rejoin him soon enough.
+David C Anderson
Chairman of the Board
The American Anglican Council