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The Many Lives of Krister Stendahl

Abstract: The stories obituaries tell.

When Bishop Krister Stendahl passed away on April 15 at the age of 86, it was hard to believe that only one person had died. As pastor, bishop, chaplain, scholar, teacher, academic dean, husband and father, Bishop Stendahl led a full life, and the fullness of that life was echoed in the obituaries that brought the news of his death.
The ELCA News Service saluted Bishop Stendahl as "an advocate for the equality of women in the church and for promoting ecumenical and interfaith relations through his work with the Lutheran World Federation,the World Council of Churches (WCC), both in Geneva, and other church organizations."
Harvard Divinity School held up his many academic accomplishments.
Lutherans Concerned and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) recalled that it was Stendahl in 1990 who first used the words “extra ordinem” and “extraordinary” to describe the ordinations of openly gay and lesbian clergy and celebrated his participation in the 2001 ordination of Pr. Anita Hill.
The New York Times cited Stendahl's hope that life might be found on Mars because then “God would be bigger than we thought.”
And the Presbyterian News Service noted that Stendahl "was among the religious leaders who officiated at the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in the United States."

(Vol. II, xxv April 19, 2008 )

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