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GUENTHER Rev. Dr. MARGARET B. GUENTHER The Rev. Dr. Margaret B. Guenther, priest in the Episcopal Church and long-time Associate Rector of St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Northwest D.C., died peacefully Sunday morning, December 11, 2016, following a short illness. She was 87. Dr. Guenther was Professor Emerita of Ascetical Theology at The General Theological Seminary in New York City, where she served for many years as Director of the Center for Christian Spirituality. She was a noted retreat leader and lecturer both here and abroad, travelling as far away as China and Australia to speak at conferences and lead retreats. She was also the author of many books including Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction; Toward Holy Ground: Spiritual Directions for the Second Half of Life; My Soul in Silence Waits: Meditations on Psalm 62; The Practice of Prayer; Just Passing Through: Notes from a Sojourner; At Home in World: A Rule of Life for the Rest of Us; and most recently Walking Home: From Eden to Emmaus. Margaret Adah Beltz was born January 4, 1929. She was the younger child of Otto and Adah (Patrick) Beltz. As a child she excelled in school but found her greatest joy in long rambles through the countryside with her father, developing a love of the outdoors that she maintained throughout her life. She was happiest sleeping under the stars with just her bedroll, well into her seventies and loved nothing more than waking under a dusting of snow. After earning a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Kansas, Guenther moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she completed a Ph.D. in German Language and Literature at Radcliffe College (Harvard) in 1958. In 1956 she married Jack Donald Guenther and together, in 1960, they moved to Washington, D.C., where she taught German language and literature at George Washington University. She also found time to tutor at Bernard T. Janney Elementary School and volunteer at the Florence Crittenden Home for Unwed Mothers. For a time in the 1970s she taught Humanities at the Maret School. During the 1960s and 1970s, Guenther was an active layperson at St. Columba's, Washington, D.C. and was among the first women to serve on its vestry. She moved to New York in 1979 to pursue ordination to the priesthood. She received her M.Div. from General Theological Seminary in 1983. Following her retirement as Director of the Seminary's Center for Christian Spirituality, she returned to Washington and to St. Columba's in 1998 to serve as Associate Rector. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Jack Guenther; her children Elizabeth Fowle of Mildford, PA, Katherine Guenther of Yachats, OR, and John Guenther and his wife Betsy Oster of Washington, D.C.; and five grandchildren. Memorial Service will take place December, 28 at 2 p.m. at St. Columba's Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions to St. Columba's Episcopal Church. For additional information or to leave on line condolences go to

Published by The Washington Post on Dec. 18, 2016.
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12 Entries
My favorite German Language and Literature professor while a student at The George Washington University in the 1970s, Professor Guenther instilled a love of learning in every student. I especially remember her positive outlook and fine sense of humor. She made this world a better place.
Dennis Carroll
March 2, 2017
Please know that Dr. Guenther's influence is continuing. I facilitate the adult Sunday School at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lumberton, NC, and we are beginning a study of her book _The Practice of Prayer_. It is a wonderful book, and it reflects an author who seems to have been a brilliant and generous scholar.
Marjory Hall
January 14, 2017
We knew and loved Margaret through her daughter, Katherine, and her deeply appreciated and thoughtful books. A light has gone out in this world; we know it shines brightly in the next.
Sue and Mike Smith
January 6, 2017
Deep condolences to the family. Margaret was a brilliant, loving, wise, seeking guide and spirit to me. I am grateful to have had the hon0r (and fun!) of walking along side her for a while in this life time.
Jamie Burnett
Jamie Burnett
January 4, 2017
I learned only this morning of Margaret's death--it's her birthday, and so I was checking online to see what she was up to. She was my teacher in Spiritual Direction at General in the 90's, a person whose influence has continually affected for good both my ministry and my faith since then. It's hard no longer to have her in this world. May the Lord comfort her family and loved ones.
Rev. Christine Bohr Anderson
January 4, 2017
My deepest condolences. I met Margaret at a Commission on Ministry weekend retreat "back in the day" when we were both aspirants for Holy Orders and later priests in the NY Diocese. Like everyone in the diocese, I had immense respect for Margaret. She was holy, brilliant, funny and humble. Margaret was a gift to the church and of course much loved by you - her family. May the peace of Christ in which Margaret now lives in glory comfort and keep you. Prayers & blessings.
Rev. Lynn Harrington
January 3, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, John.
Ronda Brown
December 26, 2016
Margaret Guenther was one of the great spiritual guides of our time. Her brilliant intellect was grounded by a deep love and compassion for all humanity. She was the real deal - she embodied in every fiber of her being what she taught, preached and wrote. One of the best blessings of my life was the privilege to work with her, learn from her and count her as my friend.
Jack, John & Betsy and all of Margaret's family, you are in my thoughts and prayers during this sacred and fragile time of her transition from this earth.
With love,
Steve Huber
December 22, 2016
John, I was very sorry to hear of your mom's passing. My prayers are with you and your family.
Thomas Magnetti
December 22, 2016
Your beloved wife, mother, and grandmother was a very special person who I met only once, but who shaped my life in very meaningful ways as a result. May you find comfort in knowing that her light touched many lives, and we stand in the shadows praying that God will bring you comfort and peace.
Angela Dressel
December 21, 2016
My dapper German teacher at GW, my sister cleric. God deal gently with Frau Guenther's Jack, kids, and their families. The child Christ lead you.
REV Cynthia Montague
December 21, 2016
May God's loving kindness comfort you and help you through this sad time Psalms 29:11
December 14, 2016
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