“Father Al Durrance entered the glory of the Father at noon, July 13,” read the announcement from Jonathan French, rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Ocala, Florida. Fr. Al was rector emeritus there. Beyond the several parishes he served in central Florida over the years, he became well known for his healing and deliverance ministry, and his work in the Order of St. Luke the Physician (and also for the red socks he always wore).
I particularly recall one of the times I had a chance to hear Fr. Al in person. He was speaking at an OSL mission in Sarasota. At some point during the meeting he was taking questions from the congregation. One gentleman described some seemingly minor but chronic health difficulty and asked Fr. Al to pray for his healing. Fr. Al slowly came down from the platform and halfway up the aisle to where the man was sitting. He announced that the man was being troubled by a demon and proceeded to command the demon to leave.
You might think you can imagine what that moment was like. It was not like that.
Fr. Al was already up in years, walking slowly, speaking in a very quiet, low voice. This made the atmosphere in the room very still as we would listen carefully to catch his words. Now, as he stood by the gentleman in the pew, there was no extra noise, motion or commotion. I could barely hear what Fr. Al was saying. But he was informing the demon he must come out and go report to Jesus. This manner of prayer continued for two or three minutes. The people all through the nave sat in absolute silence. The man with the demon seemed to be coughing softly a time or two, apparently not able to say much. And then, all at once, it was over. Fr. Al asked the man if he felt okay and declared him free. But it all took place so quietly and without any demonstration at all. Fr. Al walked slowly back to the platform to continue teaching.
During a later question and answer session, I asked Fr. Al to talk a bit about his low-key approach to the deliverance of the man in the service. Fr. Al didn’t have much to say about it. There wasn’t much that needed to be said, apparently. Such ministry is not about loud theatrics. The power and authority are all in the Name of Jesus Christ and in His love for us, the ones He loves. He anoints us with the Holy Spirit to help each other out of our entanglements and brokenness. What else is there to say?
At the least, “Thank you, precious Lord Jesus.”
Thanks also for the long and faithful witness and ministry of your servant, Al Durrance. May he rest and rejoice in Your presence, world without end. Amen.