Rev. Betty Jane Bailey
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Rev. Betty Jane Bailey

Montclair - Rev. Betty Jane Bailey died at the age of 90, comforted by her husband James Martin, her daughter Kris and her pastor Rev. David Shaw. Betty Jane was an ordained minister and active member of the community. She received an M.A. from Eden Theological Seminary - where she met her husband - and doctoral degrees from Drew University and McCormick Theological Seminary.

She was the Associate Minister of Union Congregational Church in Montclair until 1993, then spent several years working as a volunteer in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Her professional and activist work included organizing several interfaith conferences, advocating for gender inclusion, and serving on the Montclair Civil Rights Commission and in the United Nations NGO Network on the question of Palestine. Betty Jane authored and co-authored several books including the travel guide, Living Stones Pilgrimage: With the Christians of the Holy Land. She threw herself into every activity with a sharp mind and fierce determination. As one of her close friends said, "Leave it to Betty to die on Ash Wednesday!"

A memorial service will be held at Union Congregational Church in Montclair later in the spring. Betty Jane's physical presence and spunky personality will be missed by those she inspired, those she cared for, those she challenged and those she nagged. She leaves behind an extensive community of colleagues, friends and family including her husband James Martin, her daughters Kris Scelfo of Glen Ellyn IL, Susan Razzaz of Amman Jordan, her niece Kim Muench of Long Valley NJ, who she referred to as her "third daughter," as well as 6 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Montclair Times from Feb. 26 to Mar. 4, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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2 entries
February 28, 2021
We worked together when I was stationed at St. Cassian Church in the 1980s. Betty was very ecumenically minded and very easy to work with on ecumenical services. She was my first experience of a woman minister and positively informed my attitude towards women in ministry from those days forward. I always admired her work ethic and organization. I am surprised by her age; she never seemed to be that much older than me at the time (I was in my late 20s)

May God receive her into his providential care.
Father Mitch Walters
February 28, 2021
I am saddened to read of Betty Jane’s passing - a wonderful person and a much-respected colleague in my time in Montclair. I remember well a “welcome to the new clergy” barbecue that she and Mart hosted at their home in 1991, and her avid support for ecumenical cooperation. My sincere sympathy is with Mart and all Betty Jane’s family - I will remember her in my prayers, and will hope to be able to attend her memorial service when it is scheduled.
(Msgr.) Timothy Shugrue
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