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In Memoriam: Martha M. Barr


January 24, 2006 | bpfna

Martha Barr, Former Assistant General Secretary and ABW Executive, Dies

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS) - The Rev. Dr. Martha M. Barr, longtime leader in various ministries of American Baptist Churches USA, died Jan. 20 following a long illness. She was 66.

Barr served as assistant general secretary of ABCUSA from 1975 to 1983. In that role she was staff coordinator of 1977 ABCUSA Biennial Meeting in San Diego and had significant responsibilities in the writing of the final report of the Study Commission on Relationships and the Covenant of Relationships. She also worked on implementing bylaws for denominational reorganization, and served as chief Affirmative Action officer and member of the Task Force on Women.

During that time she was deputy for National Operations (1977-1981), and staff to the General Board, its Executive Committee and the National Executive Council. In addition she functioned as liaison between the Office of the General Secretary and the national program boards.

Barr was ecumenical officer for ABCUSA from 1982 to 1983, in which capacity she represented the denomination in organizations and gatherings of the National Council of Churches of Christ, Baptist World Alliance and World Council of Churches, among other groups.
As executive director of American Baptist Women (now American Baptist Women's Ministries) from 1984 to 1988, she supervised the programs, projects and funding of that organization, promoted the empowerment of women within ABCUSA, and represented ABW within denominational and ecumenical bodies.

Prior to her national work with the denomination, Barr had served in ministries of education in several congregational and collegiate settings. She was a staff consultant for ABCUSA National Ministries' Division of Parish Development and Missions from 1972 to 1974.

The Rev. Dr. Robert C. Campbell, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA from 1972 to 1987, praised Barr as "a pioneer leader as a woman in ministry, a model of effective leadership when women's gifts for ministry and leadership were not widely recognized."

A memorial service for Martha Barr was held Saturday, Jan. 28 at Central Baptist Church, 106 West Lancaster Ave., Wayne, PA 19087. Memorial gifts in her name may be made to the church.

Condolences for her husband, William, and family may be sent to them at 15 Aberdeen Terrace, St. Davids, PA 19087.


from American Baptist News Service


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