Arthur "Art" Wiser
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ULSTER PARK - Arthur "Art" Wiser, 92, a much-loved pastor of the Bruderhof communities and advocate for interfaith reconciliation, died surrounded by his family on March 26, 2013 at the Maple Ridge Community in Ulster Park.
The first child of American missionaries, Art was born on July 22, 1920 in India, where he finished high school. This childhood instilled in him an abiding commitment to the downtrodden and to Gandhi's way of nonviolence. He met his wife Mary at Cornell University, where both were students. Art refused military service in World War II for reasons of conscience, serving three years in an alternative service camp and then seven months in federal prison for his principled non-compliance with conscription laws.
After his release, Art and Mary set out to build a positive alternative to the materialism they saw as the root cause of violence. They helped found the Macedonia community in Georgia where with others they sought to help poor Appalachian farmers. But after ten years, despite apparent successes, they felt their humanist ideals had failed. They searched for an answer to their own disillusionment and to society's ills, finding it through faith in Jesus. Shortly afterward, they joined the Bruderhof community.
Art always retained his passion for justice, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965. He spent countless hours visiting prison inmates and working for the homeless and poor. For decades he participated in the Ulster County Religious Council, which encourages cooperation among all faiths.
As an ecumenical leader, Art was tireless in promoting Christian unity, especially ties between Roman Catholics and Anabaptists. With the support of his friend Cardinal O'Connor, Art helped launch an official Bruderhof-Catholic dialog that culminated in a 2004 private audience with Pope John Paul II.
Art will be missed by his children Alan, Rae, Stephen, Dana, William, and Helen, by his many grandchildren, and by all who knew him.
Plans for a memorial service will be announced. For details telephone 845-339-6680 or email: email@example.com.
Published in the Poughkeepsie Journal on Mar. 28, 2013