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Leading voices of faith who died in 2015

Leading voices of faith who died in 2015

RNS has a list of leading religious figures who have died in the past year.

They preached and inspired. They wrote and taught. Some lobbied in the halls of government. Others toiled to protect the environment and educate the young. Several died at the hands of persecutors.


Included were some whose voices were especially prominent in Episcopal Church circles, such as:

Marcus Borg – Jan. 21

The prominent liberal theologian and Bible scholar helped popularize the intense debates about the historical Jesus and the veracity and meaning of the New Testament. Borg was a leader in the Jesus Seminar, which brought a skeptical eye to the Scriptures and in particular to supernatural claims about Jesus’ miracles and his resurrection from the dead. He was 72.

Malcolm Boyd – Feb. 27

The A-list Hollywood producer turned Episcopal priest became a Freedom Rider in 1961, marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and got arrested for protesting the Pentagon. In 1977, Boyd came out as gay, held the first “AIDS Mass” and helped launch the gay spirituality movement. He was 91

Phyllis Tickle – Sept. 22

A prolific author and one of the nation’s leading public intellectuals on all things religious, Tickle began the religion division at Publishers Weekly and was best-known for a range of essays and books on faith and life, most notably and successfully her series on “The Divine Hours,” about the power of daily fixed-hour prayer. She was 81.


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Ann Fontaine

The experience of meeting all of these 3 was an encounter with the holy. Each had an impact on my life. Rise in Glory.

Rod Gillis

Some really holy folks have gone before us the year past; but they were pathfinders long before they left us.

The first time I heard of Fr. Boyd was when I was in junior high school. I had a transistor radio that I would listen to “after hours”. We could pick up big a.m. stations from New York on “skip”, and I heard him interviewed on WNBC or News Radio eighty-eight or something. I’m guessing, Are You Running With Me Jesus ( I have two copies still, one worn and one pristine) had already been published; but I had not read it at that point. One of my prized possessions is a vinyl copy of Boyd reading his prayers with Charlie Byrd playing jazz guitar.

Before ordination Boyd worked with Mary Pickford. As President Reagan noted in his address to the Canadian Parliament, “Gladys Smith of Toronto became Mary Pickford. And I know you’ll forgive us for adopting her so thoroughly that she became known the world over as ‘America’s sweetheart’.”

Somehow after all Fr. Boyd’s activism and very public life the phrase ” rest in peace” seems a little incongruous, but I’ll say it anyway, “May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Ted Thomas Martin


JC Fisher

Memory eternal. Rest in peace, RISE in glory!

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