John Gregory Tweed

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  • "While home from College, Reverend Tweed hired me to be the..."
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John Gregory Tweed The Reverend John Gregory Tweed died on March 20th from complications of heart disease at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lived since 2002. Greg was a man for all seasons. Over his lifetime, he had an impact on everyone he met—in his ministry as a chaplain, an early pioneer in AIDS outreach and care, an author, and later as a landscape painter. Born in Yankton, South Dakota on January 16, 1940 to Gabriel and Bethine Tweed, Greg travelled east for his education, earning a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1962, and then to Yale Divinity School, were he earned a Doctor of Divinity. Greg served as a minister at the Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme in Connecticut. From 1974 to 1978, he was a minister at First Congregational Church in North Hampton, Massachusetts. In 1978, Greg became Pastor of New York City's Washington Heights Collegiate Church until 1980, when he became Senior Pastor of the Middle Collegiate Church. Greg went back to New York City to serve as Co-Pastor with Norman Vincent Peale at the Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue. During these years in New York, he was also very involved with the Manhattan Council of Churches. In 1995, the Greg co-wrote an article with George D. Exoo for the Lutheran Quarterly on "Peale's Secret Source," which revealed that Peale lifted large quantities of material from the work of Florence Scovel Shinn, a teacher of the occult. The essay demonstrated that the "Positive Thinking" of Norman Vincent Peale was not merely a watering-down of the Christian faith, but a conscious substitution of pagan ideas for the gospel. Greg continued to question the foundations of Peale's work until the day he died. Warren Smith, an author writing about issues of occult in evangelical churches, commented that "Greg had a keen eye for noting spiritual deception and hypocrisy in the church, never affected his love for God." Greg also was not shy in his advocacy of other issues, attracting significant media attention about civil rights causes in NYC. For example, he became involved with the first efforts to provide hospice care to AIDs patients in New York City. Greg was a member of a visionary and compassionate group of New Yorkers who united to form the AIDS Resource Center, later renamed "Bailey House." In1989, he moved with his late partner, Cliff Myrbo, to Fort Lauderdale continued to be active as a chaplain in AIDS outreach programs. Greg arrived in Santa Fe 2002, settling into El Zaguan, an artist colony, where he was the oldest-residing artist in residence and painted, wrote, and entertained a wide circle of friends. Greg left his mark on the world in countless ways, including his forgiveness, intelligence, wit, humor, love, and abiding good cheer even during difficult times. Among his many talents, Greg was a famed raconteur and singer of show tunes. His rich baritone belting out "Easter Parade" will be missed by many. Greg is survived by his brother Stephen Tweed of Fargo, North Dakota; niece Abigail Tweed; nephews Andrew and Christian Zorn; nieces Mary Zorn and Kate Kalthoff; his ex-wife Nerice Kaufman, of Vista, California; and a legion of loyal and loving friends, as well as his beloved dog, Rochester. His sister, Rosemary Zorn, predeceased him in 2010.

Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Mar. 24, 2012
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