The Rev. Albert Curry Winn ― pastor, theological educator, peace activist and General Assembly moderator ― died July 17 at the Elms at Tanglewood in Clemmons, N.C. He was 90.
A native of Ocala, Fla., Winn graduated from Davidson (N.C.) College and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. He later earned a Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Th.D. from Union.
Immediately following his graduation from seminary in 1945, Winn served as a U.S. Navy chaplain. He then remarked on a remarkable career which took him back and forth between the classroom and the pulpit. He taught at Davidson College, Princeton Seminary, Stillman College and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, which he also served as president from 1966-1973.
Winn also pastored churches in Virginia and Kentucky. In 1979 he was elected moderator of the General Assembly of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States. He retired in 1986, but continued to serve the PC(USA), particularly in peacemaking activities.
A memorial service for Al Winn will be held July 26 at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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Barbara Wheeler, director of the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) at its 2012 Biennial Meeting in Minneapolis on June 20. She is the twelfth recipient of the ATS Distinguished Service Award which has been awarded biennially for 25 years.
Wheeler served as president of Auburn Theological Seminary for 30 years, from 1979 to 2009. She founded the Center for the Study of Theological Education in 1991 and has led the Center since its founding. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on theological education and the future of religion in North America.
Wheeler, a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and has served on boards and national task forces of the denomination. She was a member of f the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church; the board of directors of the Presbyterian Publishing Corp.; and the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, which is preparing the new hymnal. She is a founding member of the board of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.
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The Rev. William Pierson Barker, 85, a longtime collaborator with the Rev. Fred (Mr Rogers) Rogers, died at home in South Wellfleet, Pa., on July 8. A Pittsburgh native, he graduated from Haverford College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where he also received a doctorate. Barker also studied at the University of Edinburgh.
Barker was founding pastor of Bower Hill Community Church in Pittsburgh, where he served from 1950 until joining the staff of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary as director of continuing education from 1968 – 1972. He then served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Allentown, Pa. from 1972-1991. He continued to serve interim pastorates following his retirement in 1991.
Barker was the puppeteer and voice for “Dr. Bill Platypus” and “Elsie Jean Platypus” on Mister Rogers Neighborhood from 1969-2002.
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Three young adults have joined the staff of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington as “Summer Fellows.
Debbie Dyslin is a rising senior at Beloit College in Beloit, WI, where she is pursuing a BA in Sociology with a minor in Religious Studies. She is originally from San Jose, CA where she was active member and social justice advocate at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. She plans to pursue a Masters in Social Work and is also considering attending seminary. Dyslin is working to raise awareness about the use of torture at the domestic and international levels and to facilitate anti-torture advocacy by individuals, congregations, and interfaith coalitions. Her fellowship is made possible by gift from the No2Torture movement and the Presbytery of Tropical Florida.
Daniel Williams is a recent graduate of Hendrix College in Conway, Ark, where he studied politics and religious studies. He is a ruling elder of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, N.M. He has a strong interest in working with young people and faith communities on issues of worker justice and sexual and reproductive health.
Blair Moorhead is an M.Div./Masters of Social Work student at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and Howard University in Washington, DC. She has grown up in the PC(USA) and served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Kenya in 2007-2008 after graduating from Princeton University. She is currently a candidate for ordination in the Presbytery of the Northern Plains.
She is learning how working with movements involving community and religious leaders and led by the poor to end poverty translates into federal advocacy around economic injustice in the U.S.
Her fellowship inaugurates a new partnership between the Office of Public Witness and Presbyterian Women, which is partially funding the housing stipend.
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Ruling Elder Margaret Shafer, a member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan who led the fight of that church with the City of New York to allow homeless people to sleep on the steps of the church, died July 16 during heart surgery. She was 74.
The daughter of Presbyterian missionaries in the Punjab, India, Shafer served on the staff of Fifth Avenue Church from 1991 to 2004 as associate for outreach. During that time she led three mission trips to India and in 2001 took on a public advocacy role when Fifth Avenue Church sued the City of New York for the right to shelter and serve the homeless individuals who camped on its front steps. The church won the case.
Shafer’s husband, the Rev. Byron Shafer, was longtime pastor of Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York and taught at Fordham University.
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Renowned Presbyterian Poet J. Barrie Shepherd has just published his 15th book (and second one this year): Between Mirage and Miracle ― Selected Poems for Seasons, Festivals and the Occasional Revelation.
The book consists of a selection of Shepherd’s poems ― published and previously unpublished ― over the past 40 years.
“It is a great thrill for me finally to have so many of them gathered together in a handsome presentation,” Shepherd told the Presbyterian News Service. “The poems share both religious and secular themes.”
The book is published by Wipf and Stock of Eugene, Ore., as was Shepherd’s January book, Faces By the Wayside. Both can be purchased on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format.
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The Rev. Edward Bicking Jones, a retired member of Philadelphia Presbytery, died July 6 at the Philadelphia Protestant Home.
Jones served as adjunct professor of Reformed and Presbyterian studies at the Palmer Theological Seminary from 1986 until 2008.