Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

Rest in Peace John M. Swomley (1915-2010)

I have just learned that Rev. Dr. John M. Swomley died earlier this week (16 Aug. 2010) at age 95.  A United Methodist minister, pacifist Christian, and nonviolent activist, Swomley had influenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “pilgrimage to nonviolence.”  He was Exec. Secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, president of the Methodist Peace Fellowship, helped to desegregate the armed forces after WWII and worked to end conscription. He taught Christian ethics for years at St. Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, MO and served a period as head of the Society of Christian Ethics. 

A tribute is found on the website of the F.O.R. here.

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August 19, 2010 - Posted by | Methodists, obituaries, pacifism, peace, theologians

1 Comment »

  1. What a wonderful and long life. Dr. Swomley was a balanced and thoughtful person and Christian. And yet he had not completely lost sight of the menace authoritarianism and totalitarianism in religion poses for the wonderful and complicated path of American freedom of religion and democracy.

    He spoke clearly in his articles in Christian Ethics Today without sticking his head in the sand, like so many, of what the Roman Catholic “conglomerate” is up to. He may not have used such a word but he would have understood immediately why it is ludicrous to compare the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian church, the Baptist churches and many other American denominations to Roman Catholicism with its temporal powers, diplomatic services, banking interests, seats on world bodies, and its awful historical and continuing sins.

    He might even have acknowledged that the challenge to pluralism of religious expressions saying we must be “united” in one voice is simply wrong. Logic does not demand it, even if the human imagination does conceive of it!

    What wonderful man, thoughtful, Christian, effective. May he ever rest in peace. With regrets at never having met or spoken with him.

    Proctor S. Burress Lexington, KY psburress@windstream.net July 19, 2012

    Comment by Proctor S. Burress, Jr. | July 19, 2012 | Reply


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