Reverend Dr. Charles Harvey Lord
February 2, 1924 – April 3, 2015
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Harvey Lord was ordained into the Christian ministry in 1947. He received his B.A. (1945) from Phillips University in Oklahoma, his M. Div (1952) from Union Theological Seminary, an M.A. (1965) from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago while serving University Church. Harvey married his sweetheart, May Sweet Lord, who preceded him in death in 2011.
Harvey’s mission service in the Philippines from 1947 to 1951 was impressive. He and his wife started this journey after only three months of being married. They desired to serve in one of the places which had suffered under occupation during WWII. They chose the Philippines and their first assignment was to Laoag, Ilocas Norte. There they taught at Northern Christian College and worked with youth groups in Northwest Luzon. In June 1949, they moved to Vigan to work with the Christian Training School. Harvey was the director of the school and taught classes. He and May spent many happy hours together with the students in dormitories, doctoring their illnesses, patching up hurt feelings, singing, playing, and discussing their problems. Their final assignment in the Philippines, in 1950, placed them in Kabugao Apayao to work with the Apayao mountain tribe. Harvey found and directed the Apayao High School and helped with a vigorous evangelistic program among the mountain people, many of whom were hearing the name of Jesus for the first time. This high school is thriving today.
Harvey served as pastor of First Christian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, and as a co-founder and organizing pastor of the Christian Church in Villa Park prior to joining University Church. From 1967-1970 Harvey served at the Christian Theological Seminary as the Dean of Students in Indianapolis where he became a leading political organizer during the Vietnam War. Harvey began his ministry at University Church as co-minister with Charles Bayer until 1973. After Charles Bayer’s departure, Harvey again entered into ministry at University Church with co-minister Peg Stern from 1973 to 1982.
It was during Harvey’s pastorate at University Church that Virgilio Vicente and Isabel Canu entered into Sanctuary at University Church that led to the partnership with Saq Ja', which was Virgilio's birthplace. This began a decades-long relationship with the Saq Ja’ community in Guatemala which continues today as the current delegation of University Church prepares to head to Guatemala.
Harvey was committed throughout his ministry to issues of justice and peace. He participated broadly within the denomination contributing his voice and leadership whenever the opportunity presented itself. When the central administration of the denomination made a decision to eliminate the Department of Church and Society, the primary source of peace and justice education and action within the denomination, Harvey was not willing to ignore this action. With May’s help he envisioned the formation of a structure that would link all of the on-going peace and social justice efforts within the denomination and thereby strengthen their witness. Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) was born. For the next fifteen years Harvey reached out across the denomination to identify leaders, resources and channels of communication to make sure the peace and social justice issues of the day were being addressed. Because of his efforts, DJAN continues today and is linked with the Disciples Center for Public Witness housed at National City Christian Church in Washington, DC with Dr. Ken Brooker Langston as the Director.
As Harvey prepared to retire from active ministry in his final message to the University Church community in the June 1989 edition of the Messenger, Harvey said, “I fell in love with this congregation…you are an exceptional people…thank you for our time together.” University Church states, “As a community, through our sadness, we remember that Harvey was an exceptional human being who sought after God’s heart. We thank God for allowing Harvey to reside with us as we commit his soul, with great gladness for his time with us, to eternity.”
Harvey is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, May Sweet Lord, and by five siblings, Rudy Lord, Mildred Greef, Jethro Dean Lord, Martha Cathey, and Richard Lord. He is survived by three children, Timothy, Stephen, and Marilyn (James Meisner); four grandchildren, Breyten (Laura Garcia), Jordan, and Kristen Meisner, and Erick Lord (Jen Estes); and by many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on May 2, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at University Church, 5655 S. University Ave., Chicago, IL 60637. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either University Church (address above) or to Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) at P.O. Box 35887, Tulsa, OK 74153.
Condolences may be sent to the family through his daughter Marilyn Lord at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 62 Driftwood Lane, Trumbull, CT 06611.