Monday, April 21, 2008

Krister Stendahl, 1921-2008

Krister Stendahl, "ecumenical bishop," died on Tuesday, April 15, 2008. We heard the news during one of the LERN plenaries at the National Workshop on Christian Unity. Bishop Stendahl served the church in many capacities: as a biblical scholar, professor, dean, and campus pastor at Harvard Divinity School, as bishop of Stockholm, and as an ecumenist. He was one of the early progenitors of the "new perspective on Paul" and an early advocate for women's ordination and the full participation of gays and lesbians in the church. He was a pioneer in both ecumenical and interreligious work.

I had the chance to interview Krister Stendahl in 1983 for the Wittenberg Torch. He was on campus to give one of the series of lectures scheduled to celebrate the quincentennial of Martin Luther's birthday. I remember being struck by his complete humility and graciousness. Another giant in the ecumenical movement is gone.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.

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