Death of Dr. Verne H. Fletcher, former missionary

Verne H. Fletcher was born in Milford, Massachusetts, in 1922, the self-described “son of an itinerant Evangelist.” He earned his BA in history at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois) and his BD at Princeton Theological Seminary. Soon after ordination into the Presbyterian ministry in 1948, he went to study at the Faculté Reformée in Montpellier, France. At Montpellier he met Alice Lindegaard. After their marriage she became his permanent partner in mission service.

Global Ministries learned recently of the death of former missionary Dr. Verne H. Fletcher on February 16, 2009, in Paris, France.

Verne H. Fletcher was born in Milford, Massachusetts, in 1922, the self-described "son of an itinerant Evangelist."  He earned his BA in history at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois) and his BD at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Soon after ordination into the Presbyterian ministry in 1948, he went to study at the Faculté Reformée in Montpellier, France.  At Montpellier he met Alice Lindegaard.  After their marriage she became his permanent partner in mission service.

Dr. Fletcher worked from 1949 to 1951 in service to refugees in Germany and Austria under the World Council of Churches, before attending the Sorbonne in Paris, studying sociology and social thought.  He returned to the US in 1953, serving pastorates of two Presbyterian churches in Chicago and enrolling at the University of Chicago's Divinity School, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1961 in ethics and society.

In 1961 Dr. Fletcher returned to France serving the Église Reformée de France, until his appointment in 1963 with Alice as missionaries of the United Church Board of World Ministries (UCBWM) to Yogyarkarta, Indonesia.  They served until 1969 in Indonesia where Verne taught theology and ethics at the seminary and gained the deepest respect of many future ministers of the Indonesian churches.  

In 1969 the Fletchers were called to service at the Near East School of Theology (NEST), in Beirut, Lebanon, where he was appointed Professor of Theology and Ethics.  Their time in Lebanon was marked by many periods of civil strife.  During two years of civil war in Lebanon and almost a full year of separation from his family, Dr. Fletcher remained in Beirut where he was instrumental in keeping the NEST open with a diminished faculty and student body.  In 1978 he was elected President of the school, a position he held until work at NEST became extremely difficult in 1983 in the near-chaotic situation in Lebanon and Beirut. 

The Fletchers, however, were not easily diverted from service in Lebanon.  Dr. Fletcher accepted an appointment as President of the Armenian-related Haigazian College in Beirut.  In March 1985 it was again felt that their safety was in serious jeopardy and the Fletchers were again assigned to the Duta Wacana University in Yogyarkarta where he resumed his teaching until they retired in the summer of 1990.  

Dr. Fletcher published numerous articles and sermons on theology, ethics, community, and social change.  He was asked to write a book on basic Christian ethics in the Indonesian language.  In November 1990 he was awarded the status of Missionary Emeritus for his years of devoted service.  He will be remembered for his commitment to educating future clergy, developing national leadership, and training pastors and lay members to help churches reach out to meet critical needs, even in a disrupted society.

Throughout his years of service he was accompanied by his wife, Alice.  They had six children: son Jean, and daughters Madeleine, Eve, Ingrid, Sonya, and Veronica.

Expressions of condolence may be sent to:
Mrs. Alice L. Fletcher
Les Bougainvilliers
4546 Limnati Village
Limassol, Cyprus

Global Ministries is saddened by this loss and gives God thanks for the life and service of Dr. Verne Fletcher.