Notes about people

July 18, 2013

The Rev. Alan C. Thomson, 82, died May 25 after a brief illness. He was a retired Presbyterian minister, overseas missionary and lifelong peace activist.

A graduate of Union Theological Seminary and member of New York City Presbytery, Thomson served pastorates in all five New York boroughs and as a missionary in Iran, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong under the auspices of the National Council of Churches. He was expelled from Singapore in 1973 after leading an anti-Vietnam War protest outside the U.S. Embassy there.

Thomson also served as executive director of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship.

A memorial service was held June 15 at Bowne Street Community Church in Flushing, Queens, N.Y.

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The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has chosen the Anglican Bishop of Guildford, the Rev. Christopher Hill, as its new president. 

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a communion of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all European countries, and 40 associated organizations. It was founded in 1959 and has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.  

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The Roosevelt Institute has announced that it will be presenting its “Freedom from Want” Award to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in October.

Past “Freedom” winners include U.S. Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Carlos Fuentes, Studs Terkel, Tom Brokaw, Hillary Clinton, Elie Wiesel, and Anthony Romero.

Other 2013 awardees include:

  • Wendell Berry, Freedom Medal, author and environmentalist
  • Paul Krugman, Freedom of Speech Medal, Nobel Prize winning economist and writer
  • Ameena Matthews, Freedom from Fear Medal, Chicago-based anti-violence organizer
  • Sister Simone Campbell, Freedom of Religion, Executive Director of NETWORK

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John M. (’69) and Gwenyth “Gwen” Haspels ('70) Haspels were the recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award, given to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related Sterling College alumni. The Haspels were honored for a lifetime of PC(USA) mission service in southwest Ethiopia. The Haspelses are still serving in Ethiopia, so their son, Chuck Haspels (’97), received the award on their behalf..

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OneByOne, a renewal organization affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has named Adam Woods as its executive director. OneByOne seeks to equip churches with resources for those in conflict with their sexuality. Woods is a student at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. 

The Rev. Jeff Winter, who is chair of OneByOne’s board of directors said Woods ā€• who Winter said was “gay-identified for several years” ā€• “is passionate about connecting with church leaders who want to minister to people struggling with sexual brokenness. At a time when Exodus International has closed its doors God is raising up young leadership that will fight for the truth of biblical sexuality.” 

"As the Executive Director for OneByOne, God has given me a unique and profound opportunity to minister to those in conflict with their sexuality," said Woods. "It is crucial for the Church to have compassion for those dealing with sexual brokenness and to offer a clear message of Biblical truth about sexuality."

The Rev. Mary E. McNamara, 69, a longtime leader in New York City Presbytery who also served as president of United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, died June 15 after a long struggle with cancer. 

A native of Cambridge, Minn., McNamara graduated from Carleton College and Harvard Divinity School. Ordained by New York City Presbytery in 1978 at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, she served in various capacities in the presbytery for 31 years. After her tenure at United Seminary she returned to New York in January 2013. 

During her years of service, McNamara worked as executive vice-president of Union Theological Seminary in New York and as chief executive officer and director of the Interchurch Center in New York in the years prior to Presbyterian reunion.

Memorial services were held June 28 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and June 29 at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, both in New York.

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