News 72

[creation liberty evangelism]Dean H. Lewis

Update time:2021-08-12 05:32Tag:

  The Rev. Dean H. Lewis died on June 14, 2021, in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 94. Born September 6, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Samuel T. Lewis and Pharis Haynes, he grew up in Harrisonville, Missouri. He entered the Naval Air Force in 1944 upon graduation as Valedictorian from high school and was discharged as an Aviation Radar Technician 2nd Class. He graduated from William Jewell College as President of the Centennial Senior Class of 1949, having been selected as one of five members of the Aeons Honor Society, and won national recognition in debate and extemporaneous discussion. After graduation from Yale Divinity School in 1953, where he was awarded the Mersick Prize in Preaching, he was ordained to the Ministry of the Presbyterian Church USA and installed as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Springdale, Arkansas. Following five years in that pastorate during which the congregation grew from 53 to 157, he served for 30 years in agencies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, first as Western Area Secretary of the Division of Evangelism, then as founder and Secretary of the Office of Social Education and Evangelism of the Board of Christian Education, and for 20 years as Director of the Council on Church and Society, responsible for shaping policy recommendations on social issues for the General Assembly. He was a delegate to the Interfaith Conference on Religion and Race in 1963 and a member of the Presbyterian Council of Religion and Race and its staff team. He participated in the March on Washington and counted as precious treasures shards of colored glass picked up in the street after the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed in Birmingham. He was also a delegate to the National Conference of Church and State in 1964 and served as Chair of the Interfaith Committee on Religious Liberty for over 20 years. His service to the National Council of Churches included the design of two ecumenical consultations: on Domestic Hunger and Poverty, and Child and Family Justice. He chaired both consultations and the ecumenical programs that followed.Dean’s long and deep involvement with Ghost Ranch began with his first seminar leadership in 1958. As a member of Jim Hall’s Program Committee, he designed and led seminars annually, including one in 1966 with Betty Friedan, which led to his membership on the first board of the National Organization for Women (NOW). He and his first wife, June Bainbridge, spent the summer of 1979 organizing the Ghost Ranch Service Corps, which they led for many summers thereafter. During the Chicano activism in New Mexico in the late 1960s and 1970s, Dean was the designated liaison of the Board of Christian Education, making several visits each year to coordinate support and funding through Ghost Ranch, working with Jim Hall and Tomas Atencio. He was most proud of arranging the funding from the Board of Christian Education that made possible the creation of La Clinica in Tierra Amarilla. After June Bainbridge died in October 1987 and his ministry with Church and Society ended in May 1988, Dean settled at Ghost Ranch and served as the first staff Program Director for six years, during which time he met and married Marianne Ryer in 1992. The final phase of his active ministry began in 1990 when he organized a visit by the Presbytery of Santa Fe to the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba. He then initiated a mission partnership between them and served for many years as the Chair of the Presbytery Cuba Work Group. He organized the Presbyterian Cuba Connection in 1996 and served as its Executive Secretary during its 20-year life, raising nearly a million dollars to support the ministry and mission of the Cuban Church. He organized the first comprehensive encounter between Cuban and US Presbyterians in Cuba in November 2000, which initiated the Presbyterian Cuba Partners’ Network, of which he served as Convener until 2013.Dean’s service to the Presbytery after he moved to New Mexico in 1988, in addition to leadership of the Cuba partnership, included several years as Chair of the Special Committee on Peacemaking and many years of leadership in the Jicarita Cluster of Presbyterian churches in the mountains of Northern New Mexico as Convener and Secretary.Dean was predeceased by his siblings Robert Lee, Shirley Jo, Janice Dale, and James Joseph. He is survived by his beloved wife Marianne; his dear daughter Melinda (and her partner Eric) of Albuquerque; two dear stepchildren, Rachel (and her daughter Danica) and Paul Ryer (and his wife Kelly and their sons Liam, Martin and Timothy), all of Santa Fe. His cremains were scattered in a private family ceremony. Arrangements for memorial services are pending.The family has entrusted the gentle care of Mr. Lewis to Rivera Family Funerals and Cremations of Espa?ola, NM. Please visit http://riverafamilyfuneralhome.com/ to share your condolences, and memories.