Christopher Putnam – One of a kind musician and friend of the Ranch

Christopher Adam Putnam, 51, of Berkeley, CA, passed away on September 15, 2018. Born in San Diego, the son of Judith Putnam, Christopher attended St. Augustine High School, University of Redlands (Bachelor of Music), and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Masters of Theological Studies).

Christopher was an extraordinarily talented, creative, and versatile musician who worked as a conductor, organist, pianist, accompanist, teacher, and improviser. He was also a gifted liturgist, working closely with clergy in a series of church musician positions. 

At the University of Redlands, his teachers included Edgar Billups, Samuel John Swartz, Audrey Jacobson, and Leslie P. Spelman. For many years, he was a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians (AAM) and was one of a select few to attain the prestigious diploma of Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. 

After positions at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (San Diego) and All Saints Episcopal Church (Beverly Hills), Christopher accepted the position of Associate Canon for Music at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, serving under Dr. John Fenstermaker from 1994-2000, and then as Canon for Music from 2000-2003. Performing duties as organist and choir director, he also established the mixed-voice Cathedral Singers, and appeared several times on recordings from the Gothic label as accompanist.

Most recently Christopher was the Associate for Liturgy and Music at All Souls Episcopal Parish (Berkeley). Starting in 2004, he grew its vibrant and eclectic music program over a span of 12 years, including directing the Parish Choir and playing the organ, piano, and keyboards; playing the washtub bass and melodica to accompany the Angel Band; and leading and accompanying the Hearts on Fire Gospel Choir and band. He retired for health reasons in 2016.

In addition to church music work, Christopher played with the San Francisco Symphony, performed at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and improvised scores to silent movies at both Grace Cathedral and All Souls Parish. He also taught as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Notre Dame (Belmont) and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Berkeley).

Christopher served his local Masonic lodge, Oakland-Durant-Rockridge (ODR), as Master in 2011, and the California Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons as Grand Organist / Assistant Grand Organist since 2010. He traveled throughout California, playing the old parlor organs of historic lodges, and electronic keyboards, pianos, and organs of other lodges, in Masonic rituals and public ceremonies.

Christopher met Caroline, his wife of eighteen years, at The Bishop’s Ranch, when both were on retreat for the Grace Cathedral Inquirers’ Class. He maintained a strong ongoing connection with the Ranch, playing for hymn sings, salon concerts for Ranch events, parish retreats, and Board retreats. He also led program retreats with fellow musician Ana Hernández, and composed a work honoring Ranch staff.

Christopher is survived by his wife Caroline De Catur Putnam, mother Judith Ann Putnam, and former wife Annette Rossi.

Donations are being accepted in memory of Christopher to Berkeley Emergency Services. For more information, please contact Jocelyn Bergen at

A Day of Prayer for the Life of the World: The smoke in the air is a call to prayer.

The West is burning. California is filled with smoke. I drove south on Hwy 395 and could not see the Sierras. I took a plane to Seattle—more smoke—and then to Oregon—the same— even Montana is afire.
This smoke is like incense burning on the altar— it’s a prayer and a call to prayer. A call to participate in the on-going creative, healing work of the Spirit, and a call to turn to the spiritual resources of our faith. If it isn’t smoke we’re breathing these days it’s toxic news, whether we get it in bytes or tweets, or newscasts of the more traditional kind. It’s hard to hold on to hope, hard to know what to do, how to be in these days. No matter the groups we belong to, no matter the commitments we have made to work for change, we often feel isolated in our grief and feelings of helplessness. Yet, we don’t often gather together to bring the gifts of spiritual practice to the truth of our time.
Come to a Day of Prayer for the Life of the World (November 3)—we will pray together, grieve together, speak truth together, in word, silence and chant—and look for strength and hope at the heart of our faith. There will be time for reflection, time for prayer, time for thanksgiving. The day will end with a celebration of John Philip Newell’s Celtic Earth Mass.

Led by the Rev. Pat Moore and Johna Peterson. Pat is The Bishop’s Ranch Chaplain, longtime student of the Bible, sometime preacher, retreat leader, spiritual director, and always a seeker. Johna is a singer-songwriter and hospice nurse. She has been writing music for 40 years.

-The Rev. Pat Moore, Chaplain

Ranch Bees

Time of Transition:

Here at Bishops Ranch, we had lost our hive and were hoping for another when we saw a cloud of bees on campus and saw them clumping. We put a swarm box out sprayed with pheromones and they accepted our invitation. Our 20,000+ new neighbors have been transferred into a more permanent hive box and we will benefit from their active pollination of our many flowering plants and fruit trees. We provide a safe and welcoming place for them to reside and flourish and they contribute to the sustainability and productivity of our space. Hmmm, sounds like a retreat center for all.

As the days warm up and buds burst here at The Bishops Ranch, a fairly dormant and smaller hive unbeknown to us begins to forage. The queen bee begins to lay eggs and within weeks the hive can grow from 20,000 to 50,000 bees.

The honeybee colony is a super-organism with bees efficiently doing a huge variety of jobs and communicating through pheromones (chemicals) that are passed around the colony by sharing food with one another. The queen has her own pheromone that attracts the bees to her and encourages them to build the comb, forage, and tend the brood.

There comes a point when the crowd is so great, that not all of the workers have access to the queen. They are no longer receiving her pheromone signals, and so for them, she is non-existent! No queen, no longevity of the hive, so this induces the workers to create a new queen. There is no space in the colony for more than one queen.

Before the new queen emerges, the old queen takes off with thousands of the colony to establish a new hive. This swirling mass of bees is called a swarm. Sometimes you may see them in motion, like a tornado; at other times they will be resting in a teardrop-shaped clump or mass. Scout bees are out looking for a new nest site and this can be a very vulnerable time for these voyageurs. Click the link to see a video of the swarm. Ranch bee video

Information for this article was gleaned from:

Written by,

Julie Miller

Guest Services Associate

Musical Fundraiser for Camp

A Harp Happening

with Brendan Swift to support READ Camp

Thursday, May 17th, 5:30 pm
at the Paul Mahder Gallery
222 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg
$35 ticket includes the concert and reception.
Purchase ticket or make a donation here:

cropBrendan is a protegé of the late great revivalist of the Celtic harp, Chris Caswell. Brendan teaches and performs traditional Celtic, Nordic and American old-time music on the harp, piano, fiddle and five-string banjo, but perhaps is best known for questioning and stretching the boundaries of the Celtic harp. While his playing can certainly evoke the mystical qualities many associate with the genre, it also seamlessly incorporates jigs, reels, strathspeys, and other toe-tapping dance tunes, more typical of the fiddlers’ world. Brendan grew up in a musical family right here at The Bishop’s Ranch and we know you’ll leave this concert nurtured and inspired.

Find out more about READ Camp.

Our harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh, who was scheduled for this event, is unable to be with us at Thursday’s event. Her husband is ill and she needs to be with him. Our prayers are that he will heal and that at some future date she will be able to offer her concert.

Welcome Marguerite

We are pleased to announce that Marguerite Cauchois will be our Seasonal Camp Director this year. Starting in February, Marguerite will work with Interim Program Manager, Pat Moore, to hire staff and meet with camp chaplains.

Over many summers, Margaurite has been a camper, volunteer staff, Ranch Hand and Assistant Camp Director. Her home parish is St. John’s in Oakland.

Camp staff applications are available here and priority consideration will be given to applications received by January 19.

Update of Ranch status during local wildfires.

The Bishop’s Ranch, October 17, 2017

Dear Ranch Friends,

We are grateful for the outpouring of well wishes and support we have received from our community. It has allowed us to provide work and other help to our staff, neighbors and friends.

The Ranch was not directly effected by the fire, other than the loss of scheduled groups. In the week following the fires, the Ranch has been a shelter for staff, family members and friends who where evacuated from their homes. While no staff members lost their homes, some have family and friends who have.

During the peak of the fires we were conducting hourly patrols of the perimeter of the Ranch to make sure that no fires had started in our area. Thankfully we did not encounter any here. We are all resting easier now that the fires are being contained.

We were sorry to have to cancel quality time at the Ranch for five groups. Today we are welcoming De La Salle High School as our first group since the fire, and are looking forward to our weekend groups. The Fall Hike scheduled for Saturday, October 21 is happening and we expect good air quality.

Thank you for your concern about The Bishop’s Ranch and our mutual community,

Jack Dowling
Advancement Director


Ranch status during Sonoma County fires.

The Bishop’s Ranch, October 11, 2017

Dear Ranch Friends,

Many of you have asked how the Ranch is doing while the wildfires are burning in Sonoma and neighboring counties. We are grateful for your thoughts and prayers.

So far, the Ranch has been safe and out of the way of the fires. However, many of the Ranch staff, family and neighbors have been evacuated and in some cases have lost homes. Our hearts and prayers are with everyone who is impacted by this series of tragedies. Some staff families and neighbors are temporarily sheltering at the Ranch.

Many of you have also asked us how you can help the Ranch during this time. For the sake of everyone’s safety, we have asked scheduled groups not to come to the Ranch this week and weekend. This will have a financial impact on the Ranch staff, at a time when money is really needed. It of course will have a financial impact on the Ranch as well. One way you could help locally would be to make a donation to the Ranch Annual Fund. This money would be used to address immediate financial impacts that add so much to the stress of uncertainty and displacement.

Other ways that you could help more generally are via Bishop Beisner of the Diocese of Northern CA by donating to his Discretionary Fund, or directly to the Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, which is currently receiving evacuees. “Please, no clothing, etc. until needs are more carefully assessed.  Episcopal Relief and Development is in close touch with the Diocese of Northern California and will be updating its plans shortly.
We intend to accept scheduled groups again as soon as more of the uncertainty of the fires has been reduced, hopefully this next week. Thank you for your concern about The Bishop’s Ranch and our mutual community,

Sean Swift
Executive Director

Remembering long time friend of the Ranch, Lloyd Aubry

Lloyd at the groundbreaking of the Swing Pavilion.

Lloyd at the groundbreaking of the Swing Pavilion.

Lloyd Aubry, who passed away on July 9th, 2016 at the age of 92, came onto the Ranch board at Bishop William Swing’s request in 1986. Bishop Swing famously recruited Lloyd during a round of Lloyd’s favorite game – golf. Lloyd continued on the board for over a quarter century, most of the time as President. He and his wife Margaret have supported the Ranch in many, many ways. We will miss him.

Below is Lloyd’s obituary.
Lloyd Walter Aubry
January 25, 1924 – July 9, 2016

Lloyd Walter Aubry, a 51-year resident of Hillsborough, California, died peacefully at home of natural causes on July 9, 2016. He was 92. A 3rd generation San Franciscan, Lloyd was born at St. Luke’s Hospital on January 25, 1924, and was the only child of Lloyd Wanton Aubry and Edna Woenne Aubry. Lloyd’s father had a long career with Standard Oil Company of California, and during his childhood the family relocated many times. Lloyd lived in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Seattle, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Phoenix as his father’s career advanced, attending 3 different high schools before graduating from North Phoenix High School in 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, sailed to Europe on the Queen Mary, and served as a Staff Sergeant in the Signal Corps with the Allied Expeditionary Force in England, France, Belgium, and Germany. He returned home to Burlingame after the war, enrolled at Stanford on the GI Bill, and joined Delta Chi Fraternity. In 1946, on a blind date on campus, he met his future wife and the love of his life, Margaret Anne Wade of Hillsborough. They were married in 1948, 3 days after he graduated from Stanford with an engineering degree. On June 19, 2016, Lloyd’s extended family gathered in Hillsborough to celebrate both Father’s Day and Margaret and Lloyd’s 68th wedding anniversary.
Lloyd and Margaret had 4 sons: Lloyd Jr. called Chip (Vanessa), an attorney; Wade (Suzanne), a physician; Keith (Sharon), a wildlife biologist; and Brian (Tristan), a geologist. He also had 12 grandchildren: Jessie, Hannah, Claire, Karen, Beth, Jennifer, Caroline, Joan, Gael, Kelly, Madeline, and Evan; and 6 great-grandchildren: Cole, Jax, Taylor, Noah, Grayson, and Kylie. Lloyd was devoted to his wife and family, and the family enjoyed frequent family vacations which always included golf. Lloyd and Margaret were inseparable, and they traveled all over the world together with the Stanford Travel/Study Program. A special highlight was a trip to Normandy in 1994 for the 50th Anniversary commemoration of D-Day. They also enjoyed frequent trips to Hawaii and annual trips to Carmel for the Crosby/AT&T golf tournament.
After working as a mechanical engineer for several companies in San Francisco and Modesto during the 1950s, Lloyd fulfilled a lifelong ambition in 1961 by starting his own engineering and construction business, the Lloyd W. Aubry Engineering Co., Inc. Based in Burlingame and operating around the country, Aubry Engineering specialized in the design and installation of conveyer handling systems, canning and bottling lines, food and timber processing machinery, and other mechanical systems. A natural salesman, Lloyd forged longstanding working relationships with his customers and, with many, lifelong friendships. Throughout his business career, Lloyd was recognized as someone who always met his obligations, kept his word, and treated his employees fairly. As the company grew, Lloyd developed a loyal team of sales managers and project supervisors. In 1990, he sold the company to two of his senior managers and retired. The Lloyd W. Aubry Co, Inc. continues to operate under his name to this day.
During retirement, Lloyd turned his attention to volunteer activities, especially through St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Burlingame, where he and Margaret were married, and the Bishop’s Ranch of the Episcopal Diocese of California in Healdsburg. He served continuously on the Ranch Board since 1986 and was President from 1994-2008, providing leadership for the planning, fundraising, and construction of 5 new buildings and the renovation of 9 existing buildings on the property. The Ranch grew in many dimensions under his leadership, enhancing its value as a very special retreat and conference center for all ages and all people. For the last 30 years, Lloyd and Margaret were an unbeatable team at the Ranch and enjoyed many happy times there together.
Lloyd was a member of the Olympic Club, where he served as Chairman of the Country Club Committee and President of the Seniors’ Golf Association, and the Menlo Country Club, where he served as Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee. He learned to play golf at an early age from his father, played on the golf team during high school, and loved to play with his many friends throughout his life, including a round with his sons on his 91st birthday. Lloyd was also a member of the Peninsula Roundtable, past president of the Peninsula Stanford Club, and a member of the Stanford Associates in recognition of his volunteer services to Stanford. He loved reading mysteries and thrillers and was often seen driving around town in his vintage Mercedes 280SL convertible with the top down and a twinkle in his eye. He loved life, loved people, and made the world a little bit better during his time with us.
Memorial donations in Lloyd’s name may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Burlingame, The Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, or the Stanford Engineering Fund.

Shared Retreat Magic

This was offered in the latest issue of Pacific Church News. I thought it deserved a to be highlighted.

A reflection from the Rev. Dana Corsello

Matthew Burt and I became friends through our work on the Executive Council. When he discovered that St. Luke’s, San Francisco, and Christ Church, Portola Valley were sharing the same weekend for parish retreats at the Ranch, he contacted me and asked if I’d like to do some joint planning. Of course!


What unfolded was a new friendship and bond for Beth — the rector at Christ Church — and me and a retreat that was fully shared among our congregations — all programming, childcare, worship, and fun. It was a risk but we both agreed to go for it! As Paul wrote, there are many members of Christ’s body. What Christ Church brought to the weekend we were lacking and what they needed we could provide. Beth and I shared the movie theology and small group work and even yesterday’s sermon. New friendships were forged and old friendships reconnected. One of my parishioners went to Stanford with one of hers. They were shocked to see each other at the Ranch, of all places! Our senior wardens connected and vowed to stay in touch.

shared2It was really beautiful. We also shared the expenses of childcare, art, and the incredible honkey-tonk band we hired Saturday night. The pictures are of the wine tasting hosted by Christ Church on Saturday night (my folks loved it) and a selfie of Beth and me.

Friendships and the church are being strengthened all over the diocese. We’ve already committed to next year together!