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Letters

Capturing the Spirit


Chaplain Jason Constantine

Thanks to Bob Wells for capturing the spirit of Civil War re-enacting and the character of the 26th Regiment of North Carolina Troops' chaplain Jason Constantine. Jason has been a welcome addition to our unit. As he mentioned, many of our men consider him their pastor. His Sunday morning messages and his before-battle prayers are both enlightening and exactly what a pastor of that day would have said to us. I have been reenacting for 28 years and the addition of Jason as our chaplain has made my experience complete.

Clint Johnson
Color Corporal 26NCT
Winston-Salem, N.C.


A Tribute to “Mac” Richey


McMurry S. Richey

The death of Dr. McMurry S. Richey reminded me anew of the debt I owe him. From 1955-58, I was in at least three classes with Dr. Richey, and I owe my theological “sea legs” to his gracious and kind spirit, his keen mind, and his personal patience with me.

I grew up in a very small rural Methodist church, but as a teenager I became an avid student of the Bible, theology, and Wesleyan doctrine as filtered by the “holiness movement” of Methodism. Asbury Seminary faculty and other skilled preachers brought me to my call to ordained ministry, but also tutored me in the “evils of modernism.” I was armed to the teeth and ready as a college freshman to “defend the faith.”

I fought my undergraduate faculty with a vengeance as they taught biblical criticism reflecting the ethos of 19th century liberalism. I finished college still entrenched in my fundamentalism and went to Duke Divinity School only to meet the church's requirements for ordination.

Week after week I heard Dr. Richey lecture us on the history and philosophy of religious education as a movement. I bristled, but something was happening to which I had no defense-his spirit was demonstrably more like Jesus' than mine! His prayers reflected the depth of his spiritual journey and his careful tutoring revealed a brilliant mind.

I began virtually to see Christ in Dr. Richey's countenance, his soft voice, his charitable attitude and his systematic presentation of content. In him I first experienced what I now teach as “grace theology.” He tutored me through the most painful experience of life-unlearning. He rescued me from the tentacles of fundamentalism.

In short, he both saved and shaped my entire ministry and walk with Christ. Now, in retirement, I teach four courses at Hood Theological Seminary and tell the students about my theological journey and the pivotal role that Dr. Mac Richey played. To him I am forever grateful.

“As he has borne the image of the earthly, may he also bear the image of the heavenly.”

Donald W. Haynes B.D.’58
Salisbury, N.C.


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