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Funeral held for slain Md. priest

Tuesday - 5/8/2012, 9:18pm  ET

Church honors priest who died

WTOP's Max Smith


Associated Press

BALTIMORE - A hundred white-robed Episcopal priests from across Maryland joined members of an Ellicott City parish Tuesday in a prayerful crescendo of praise for a priest gunned down along with her church secretary by a homeless man who had been turned away from the parish food bank for seeking too many handouts.

The Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn was remembered by her brother Frank and her colleagues as a loving and lively woman with a Ph.D. in pastoral counseling and a floral tattoo on her ankle. She sported colorful hats, had a secret fondness for 1980s dance tunes and embraced the abused and downtrodden during her nearly nine years at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, said her co-rector, the Rev. Kirk Kubicek.

"In many ways, she helped prepare us with the spiritual tools we needed to get through these last few days," Kubicek told about 440 mourners in the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Kohn, 62, and administrative assistant Brenda Brewington, 59, were fatally shot Thursday in the church office. Police say the shooter was Douglas Franklin Jones, 56, who then turned the handgun on himself and died in a woodlot where he lived near the church.

Brewington's private funeral and interment are scheduled for Thursday.

The Right Rev. Eugene T. Sutton, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, said several parishes in the diocese have offered to hold a burial service for Jones, but that his family hasn't made a decision.

"There is compassion still for that man, who was obviously mentally ill," Sutton told an Associated Press reporter after the service.

Leaders of St. Peter's said Jones had become belligerent and angry after he was turned away from the food bank for visiting more than once a week.

"Mr. Jones started coming in every day," said Craig Stuart-Paul, the parish warden. "He was displeased and angry that we couldn't feed him every day."

Stuart-Paul said he didn't know how soon Jones returned with the gun after he was sent away.

The 90-minute cathedral service was filled with stirring hymns accompanied by a swelling organ and gentle harp. After the final blessing, Kohn's sister Jeanette Kirkpatrick slowly carried Kohn's ashes in a cloth-covered urn down the center aisle, pausing to let each priest touch the receptacle as a bagpiper played.

The diocese's recently retired bishop, the Right Rev. John L. Rabb, said in sermon that Kohn ministered with compassion and understood that God does not forsake his people.

Kohn, he said, was "a true friend in the deepest sense of what Jesus is calling Jesus' people to be."

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