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Obituary: DR PAT PAGE

30 August 2013

The Revd David Tuck writes:

DR PAT PAGE, who died on 27 July, aged 89, was an American lay theologian whose life touched Anglicans on five continents.

Born in Maine, she graduated from Smith College, Massachusetts, and soon returned there as a lay chaplain, when the poet Sylvia Plath was a student. Just after Zambian independence, Archbishop Oliver Green-Wilkinson invited her to head the church's Christian-education department there. She made a great contribution, and many lay initiatives that she began continue to enrich that Church.

Her quiet and generous support from her private resources opened doors to secondary and higher education for several African students during those years.

After Zambia, Pat studied at King's College London for a year, and then undertook doctoral studies at New York University. There followed a rich period of teaching in theological colleges around the world, including Ripon College, Cuddesdon, General Seminary in New York, and Nanking in China.

Her last post was as a professor at Berkeley in California, during which time she organised an important international conference in Hawaii on Roland Allen. In recent years, in South Carolina, besides working as a doughty fighter for racial justice, and serving on the national Methodist-Episcopalian unity commission, she was an active member of her retirement community at Croesdale Farm, Dyrham, and continued her worldwide travels.

Severe scoliosis was perhaps the reason why she never married, but her lifelong single state made possible her extraordinarily rich network of friends round the world. My wife and I first knew her when we were serving with USPG in Zambia, and we treasured her frequent visits to us in Britain. But she also knew, independently of my friendship, two of my former curates, and my brother.

She will be mourned by her many friends, and remembered for helping us to see that there is no higher calling than that of the lay Christian in the world.

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