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Prayers for Richard Hays, Final Days as Duke Divinity Dean

July 30, 2015

3d forumThis is Richard Hay’s last week serving as the Dean of Duke Divinity School. He recently announced he is stepping down for treatment for pancreatic cancer (details here).

This image of Dean Hays is one of my favorites from the Christian Forum for Reconciliation in Northeast Asia, held in Nagasaki in April. Richard and his wife Judy joined the 60 participants from China, Japan, Korea, and U.S., and Richard gave a powerful teaching on reconciliation. On day two, we went on pilgrimage to a museum telling the story of Japanese military atrocities. Unexpectedly, many tears were shed, holy tears of desire for a new future. The next day in morning worship, we gathered around our Japanese brothers and sisters, and Richard led prayers for this very special group of Christian leaders.

Richard is one of the top New Testament scholars in the world. When I came to Duke as a student in 2000, his classes delivered a biblical vision for what we had lived in Mississippi. When he became Dean ten years later, what a pleasure to serve under him as director of the Center for Reconciliation. Yet over those years, more significant in God’s wisdom than the scholar or Dean, I have come to know the man here, the pastoral heart, the gentle and wise spirit, the man who seeks to embody what he teaches.

As he laid his hands in prayer, may we lay our prayers on him and Judy as they walk this unexpected new chapter before them.  May much grace, joy, and faith for one day at a time be upon them.

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