Notes about people

June 11, 2010

The Rev. George Riley Edwards, known for his peacemaking efforts and public leadership against war, died June 2. He was 90. 

Edwards was professor emeritus at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He retired in 1985 after serving 27 years as professor of New Testament Studies. As a Patterson scholar during his studies at Louisville Seminary, and as an instructor in New Testament Greek while earning a doctorate at Duke University, Edwards prepared himself to meet the challenge of teaching theological students. 

Edwards was ordained in 1951 in North Carolina and served several small churches in rural areas and blue-collar communities. He ministered to Tlinget Indians in Alaska and helped to establish a predominantly black congregation in Louisville at the request of the presbytery. 

Throughout 60 years of ministry, Edwards lived courageously for peace and justice. He was a founding member of and an active participant in the Louisville Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, begun in 1975. His numerous books address theological ethics and issues of violence, militarism, and oppression of humanity. His tireless efforts against the death penalty have moved persons and institutions to help release from prison wrongly accused individuals. 

In addition to his spouse, Jean, Edwards is survived by their three children, John, of Louisville, Ky., and Virginia Edwards-Menz and the Rev. Riley Edwards-Raudonat, both of Germany, and six grandchildren. 

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The Rev. David W.A. Taylor, active in ecumenical and international relationships among churches, died May 23 in Cary, N.C.

Born in China and the son of missionary parents, Taylor grew up in Nashville, Tenn. After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, he studied to equip himself for ministry. He earned degrees from Vanderbilt University, Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. 

In 1962, Taylor was called to an executive staff position on the Board of World Missions of the Presbyterian Church U.S. In 1973, the PCUS called him to be the director of its Office of Ecumenical Coordination, where he served for nine years. He was later called to serve the Consultation on Church Union, an interdenominational consortium of nine major denominations in America seeking the visible unity of the churches. Taylor also served pastorates in Virginia and Florida. 

Taylor is survived by his wife of 58 years, the Rev. Lillian McCulloch Taylor; their two children: the Rev. Frances Taylor Gench and her husband the Rev. Roger J. Gench, of Washington, D.C., and Dr. David W.A. Taylor, Jr. and his wife E.B. Taylor, of Greensboro, N.C.; by two grandchildren, and by a sister. 

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Jan Noller, a well-known Christian educator, died. 

She will be best remembered by many first-time educators, church school superintendents and Christian Education elders through her work with the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area to produce Help! We Need to Organize the Education Program. 

This book is still used for learning about the basics of establishing educational ministry in congregations. Now out of print, permission was granted several years ago to make it available online. 

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The Rev. John Buchanan, pastor of Chicago’s historic Fourth Presbyterian Church, will retire in January 2012.

Buchanan has been pastor of the church since 1985. During his ministry, the congregation has grown to more than 6,000 members, including many families, children and youth. The church’s community outreach has also expanded.

Buchanan is recognized as one of the nation’s best preachers. He has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in a variety of roles, including as moderator of the 208th General Assembly (1996-1997).

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