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Parsons, E. (Edwin) Spencer
Was born February 16, 1919 to Edwin W. and Ethel (Marsh) Parsons. He was ordained by The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts on October 8, 1944 at First Baptist Church, Newton Centre after attending Denison University, Union Theological Seminary, Andover Newton Theological School and Harvard University. He served as Assistant Minister at First Baptist Church of Newton Centre and Acting Chair of the Bd. of Preachers and Ministers serving through Memorial Church, Harvard University. Spencer was the Executive Secretary of the Massachusetts Baptist Foundation for Campus Ministry and served as Baptist University Pastor at Harvard, Radcliffe, MIT and Wellesley. He was Associate Minister at Old Cambridge Baptist Church from 1949-1959. In 1959 he became Sr. Minister of Hyde Park Union Church in Chicago until 1965 when he became Dean of ockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago where he also served as Dir. of Ministerial Field Education at the Divinity School and Professor of Church and Society. While in Chicago he also served as Consultant and Eastern Director of Health Resources, Ltd., in Kansas City, Kansas; President of the Abortion Rights Association of Illinois; Chair of the Advisory Committee for Planned Parenthood; Founder and Chair of the Illinois Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights; Chair of the Illinois Clergy Consultation Services and served on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood in Chicago. Working for the American Baptist denomination, Spencer Parsons served as President of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board and worked on the General Board of The American Baptist Churches, USA. He was an adjunct professor of Baptist Polity at Andover Newton Theological Seminary; served on the Board of A New Day (a residential and vocational training program for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and for many years served as the Editor of Salt and Light, a publication of the former Department of Church and Society of The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts. He also chaired the Board of Church and Public Policy for the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Rev. Dr. E. Spencer Parsons holds honorary degrees from Kalamazoo College, Denison University and Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine; has published three books and has an extensive list of published articles and special lecture series. He is survived by his sister, Ruth Van Hoek, has been a loving husband of the now deceased Eleanor Millard and, since September of 2007 the husband of Tai Shigaki. He is father of four: William Spencer (Bethesda, MD), Ellen P. Tatreau (Martha's Vineyard), James Millard (Weymouth, MA) and Bradford Delano (Walpole, MA), grandfather of five, great grandfather of one and a half (!), brother, uncle, friend and mentor of many. A memorial service of remembrance and celebration of his life will be held October 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM at The First Baptist Church of Worcester, 111 Park Avenue, Worcester, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Salem Community Corporation (Briarwood Residential Community), 65 Briarwood Circle, Worcester, MA.
Published in The Boston Globe on Oct. 13, 2013
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