In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Wayne G. Boulton

05-09-2019

It is with deep regret that McCormick Theological Seminary notes the passing of Wayne G. Boulton, class of 1967 and Distinguished Alumnus of 2013.

Wayne Granberry Boulton, 77, died at home of pancreatic cancer on Feb 1, 2019, in Indianapolis, IN.

Wayne was a devoted and beloved husband, father, teacher and friend, always putting others at ease with warmth and good humor. He loved the fierce, wide-open landscapes of Scotland and Montana; walking and hiking in solitude; swimming the sparkling lakes of New Hampshire; studying Scripture; preaching with dynamism; playing basketball, ping-pong, and drums; singing in harmony; experiencing life in other countries; and discussing just about anything, from theology to politics. He had an easy laugh, a twinkle in his eye, and a deep passion for justice, kindness, and humility.

He was born in Gaffney, South Carolina, the son of the late Wayne Kelly Boulton and Mary Brinson Granberry Boulton. Raised in Ardsley, New York, he graduated from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and then attended two schools in Chicago, Illinois: Northwestern University Business School and McCormick Theological Seminary, where he graduated with a Master of Divinity. He later received a Doctor of Philosophy from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, writing his dissertation on the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

In the spring of 1966, Wayne married Vicki Marcia Rubin, having earlier caught her eye – and she, his – when his college choir performed at her high school. As just the first of their many adventures to come, Wayne and Vicki worked in Bangkok, Thailand from 1967-69 as part of the Frontier Intern Program of the Presbyterian Church, building bridges between United Nations agencies and the Church of Christ in Thailand, a Presbyterian partner.

Wayne taught for 20 years in the religion department at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, specializing in Christian ethics. He taught exceptionally popular courses – most notably “Christian Love,” a seminar on sexual ethics. During his service at Hope, he received the school’s H.O.P.E. award (Hope’s Outstanding Professor-Educator) and served terms as religion department chair and faculty representative on the Board of Trustees. In 1979 he was visiting professor at the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland, beginning his lifelong love for that part of the world.

From 1992-97, Wayne served as president of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia, now part of Union Presbyterian Seminary. He went on to serve as pastor at several congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Church of Christ, including First Presbyterian Church, Annapolis, Maryland; Roland Park Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland; New Vernon Presbyterian Church, New Vernon, New Jersey; First Church in Charlestown (UCC), Boston, Massachusetts; and Hingham Congregational Church (UCC), Hingham, Massachusetts. His final years of ministry were at St. Timothy’s Memorial Chapel in Georgetown Lake, Montana.

Wayne is the author of several articles and two books: Is Legalism a Heresy? The Legacy of the Pharisees in Christian Ethics; and Out of Step: The Family, American Society, and the Christian Gospel. He is also coeditor of From Christ to the World: Introductory Readings in Christian Ethics. For the last several years, he has been at work on a book focusing on the Christian doctrine of election.

In recognition of his service as teacher, pastor and leader in theological education, Wayne was honored with the 2013 McCormick Theological Seminary’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

One of Wayne’s signatures was to convene or join small study groups, ranging from a septet of longtime seminary friends to church Bible studies to book discussions. These circles of conversation epitomized his lifelong curiosity, his love of big ideas, and his gift for bringing people together. He died in the hometown of the writer Kurt Vonnegut, who once said, “the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” In ways large and small, in classrooms and churches and coffee shops and beyond, Wayne Granberry Boulton lived a lifetime daring to do just that.

Wayne is survived by his wife of 52 years, Vicki; by his sons and daughters-in-law, Matthew and Elizabeth Myer Boulton of Keene, New Hampshire, and Christopher and Libby Boulton of Tampa, Florida; by his four grandchildren, Jonah, Maggie, Hendrik, and Charlotte; and by his cousin Rev. Dr. James Richardson (Carol). He was predeceased by his cousins Robert Richardson and George Richardson (Kathy).

A Memorial service was held at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian, Indianapolis, on Monday, March 18, 2019.

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