December 19, 1929 – August 17, 2020
Brother David Eastman Allen, a member of our community, died on 17 August 2020 at Cambridge, MA in the ninety-first year of his life and the sixtieth year of his religious profession.
A native of Spokane, WA where his grandparents had been Presbyterian missionaries, David graduated from Washington State University in 1952 and immediately enlisted in the US navy. He was assigned to active duty during the Korean War in the Pacific Fleet. Following a year of shore duty he entered the Church Divinity School of the Pacific to prepare for ordination. He was ordained deacon on 17 June 1958 by Bishop Edward Cross, who had confirmed him a number of years earlier. Shortly after his ordination he entered our community at the Monastery in Cambridge. He was ordained priest by Bishop Spence Burton of our Society later that year. In those days it was our custom for priest novices to be elected directly to life profession, and so on 1 July 1961 Brother David made his life profession in the Monastery Chapel. He was the last person in our community to go directly from the novitiate to life profession. In 1962 he was sent to serve in our Japanese Province where he served until 1971, and again from 1974, until the closing of the Province and the withdrawal of the American members of our community from Japan in 1975. These were some of the happiest years of his life. There he became proficient in Japanese, which enabled him to serve both our Japanese and English speaking congregations. For a time he was the editor of our Japanese newsletter Mi Tsuka (or Honourable Messenger). He also served as Provincial Superior, as well as Warden to the Sisters of Divine Charity.
He returned to Cambridge in 1975 and was at different times Novice Guardian, Assistant Superior, Guest Brother, or Sacristan. He was also one of those who lived at Emery House on several occasions. Because of his fluency in Japanese, David was one of those who began the Boston Chinese Ministry at St. Paul’s Cathedral. This allowed him to learn enough Cantonese to enable him to preside at the Eucharist, and preach on occasion. In February 2020 David moved into a long term care facility. Shortly after his move, the facility went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, preventing any visits. A few weeks after the lockdown began, David wrote to the Brothers saying that I have come to know my present attitude is one of joy and peace…and that I have accepted with joy what has happened to me…accepting my life as it has become, so cut off from what it had been. Each morning I wake up reciting a line from the psalms, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.’ Brother David died at Neville Center at Fresh Pond. His ashes will be interred in the community’s Memorial Garden at Emery House at a later date.
Both services will be live-streamed on the Friends of SSJE Facebook page.
The Brothers invite you to share your memories and messages below: