MACON, GA – (From http://www.macon.com) – The Rev. Marshell Stenson Jr., the pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in Macon for 44 years, died Thursday. He was 77.
Stenson died at a Macon hospital, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.
“He was a wonderful preacher and a wonderful person,” Jones said.
A native of LaGrange, Stenson attended Clark College in Atlanta and later earned his master’s degree in religious education at the Denominational Theological Seminary.
His first church was Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Newnan. He moved to First Baptist Church on New Street in Macon in 1965, then became pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in 1969.
Among Stenson’s survivors is his wife, Mary. Hutchings Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.
In 1970, Stenson headed Operation Breadbasket, an effort to help poor blacks find better jobs.
“We already have enough maids, janitors and the like,” Stenson told The Telegraph at the time.
Stenson, the fifth of 13 children born to a Troup County sharecropper, served on the Georgia Council on Human Relations and had been a member of the executive committee of the Bibb County Republican Party. He ran for a county commission seat against incumbent Earl Zimmerman in 1968.
He was an outspoken religious leader over the years. In a 1979 interview in The Telegraph, he worried that many black men and women were not appreciative enough of the struggles of their forefathers.
“The church played the major role in moving the black man from slavery to where he is today,” Stenson said. “Blacks don’t know this, and as a result of his ignorance, he is turning his back on the church. This is my greatest dedication, the word of God.”
In the late 1960s, he helped organize the Alcoholics Rehabilitation Clinic in Macon. Alcohol, Stenson said, “is one of the most widely used and abused drugs. We look upon the problem as being a sickness, a moral character breakdown.”
Willie B. Hill Jr., chairman of the board of deacons at St. Luke, said Stenson’s favorite hymn was “Any Way You Bless Me,” which Stenson was known for singing from the pulpit.
“He loved that song,” Hill said Thursday. “You knew when he sang it he was gonna sing it a long time.”
Stenson’s daughter, Mary Scriven, recalled her father as a genuine man of faith.
“The way you saw him at church or at home or at the mall … or out fishing was the way that he was,” said Scriven, who is a federal judge in Florida. “Honest to the core, a high level of integrity. He believed in having fun and laughing.”
When he got together with his brothers and sisters, they’d play cards into the wee hours of the morning.
Stenson was also an outdoorsman who liked to hunt and fish. When children gathered in a field near his house in western Bibb County to play softball, he was often the designated hitter. A solid 6-foot-2 with huge hands, he could sock the ball “at least a country mile,” Scriven recalled.
“Everywhere he went … he was stopped by people he had helped or inspired,” she said.
A Christmas or two ago, Stenson’s wife bought him an iPad. But pretty much all he did with it was snap pictures. “My picture-taking thing,” he called it.
He had nine grandchildren. A lot of his photographs were of them.
“They followed him around like the Pied Piper,” Scriven said.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – from http://www.seattletimes.com – Ken “The Hutch” Hutcherson, 61, a former Seattle Seahawk and an outspoken pastor , died shortly before noon on Wednesday. He had battled prostate cancer for more than a decade.
Pastor Hutcherson, who started the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, was not afraid to take on politically unpopular causesor institutional inequities, such as the practice by adoption agencies of charging higher fees to adopt white babies.
Gerald Lewis, the pastor of administration at Antioch, said Hutcherson would like to be remembered as a man for whom the word of God was paramount.
“More than anything, he would want people to know he loved Jesus and submitted his entire life to working for the Lord,” said Lewis. “He often said, ‘I have been saved by the word of God, and I believe it to be true. I have to live by that, and I have to lead by that.’ ”
Pastor Hutcherson was born in Anniston, Ala., to a poor, single mother on July 14, 1952. He grew up during a time of “aggressive segregation,” Lewis said. He spoke publicly numerous times about experiencing racial prejudice — riding in the back of the bus and drinking from separate water fountains — and also of harboring bias himself.
But while he was in high school he had a religious experience and “God changed his life,” said Lewis. He submitted his life to God’s will and studied the Bible. Through his studies, he came to believe that men are created equal in God’s eyes and that discrimination based on race is wrong, Lewis said.
Pastor Hutcherson attended University of West Alabama in Livingston, Ala., and went on to play pro football as a linebacker in Dallas and San Diego before he was selected by the Seahawks during the expansion draft in 1976.
A knee injury ended his football career the next year, and he eventually started Antioch, a 3,500-member multiracial congregation that grew out of a small Bible study group.
The church’s motto is “Black and White in a Gray World,” a saying that aptly captured Pastor Hutcherson’s belief that God’s word provides clear truths in a murky world. It also speaks to his personal life, according to his friend and colleague Pastor Joe Fuiten, of Cedar Park Assembly of God, in Bothell.
Pastor Hutcherson married a white woman of German descent and jokingly referred to their four children as “German chocolate kids.”
When he learned that adoption agencies charged prospective parents more for the adoption of white children than for children of other races, he took out huge billboards calling for a ban on the practice. His church also began a ministry of providing free adoption services.
In addition to his wife, Pat, and four children. Pastor Hutcherson is survived by his mother.
Services have not yet been arranged.