Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Reverend Dr. Betty Jane Bailey
Reverend Dr. Betty Jane Bailey
January 16, 1931-February 17, 2021
Rev. Betty Jane Bailey passed away at 90 years old on February 17, 2021, surrounded by loved ones.
Betty Jane Bailey was born on January 16, 1931, in East Orange, New Jersey to Edward George and Lillian Anna (Poeter) Wenzel.
Betty received a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University in New Jersey. She also held an additional master’s degree from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Missouri, where she met her husband, James Martin Bailey, and a doctoral degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Betty had a robust ecumenical career, serving in many functions of the broader church including positions with the United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian Church, among other roles with local congregations, regional bodies, and in academia.
Betty and Martin then spent three and a half years from 1994 until 1998 serving in Jerusalem and Bethlehem as long-term volunteers commissioned by Global Ministries. Betty spent part of that time helping travelers meet and hear the stories of local Christians. It resulted in the conviction that much work still needed to be done in sharing that there was more to the Holy Land than the ancient stones.
Her professional and activist work included organizing several interfaith conferences, advocating for gender inclusion, serving on the Montclair Civil Rights Commission, and the United Nations NGO Network on the question of Palestine.
Betty authored and co-authored several books, including the travel guide Living Stones Pilgrimage: With the Christians of the Holy Land.
Betty is survived by an extensive community of colleagues, friends, and family, including her husband, Martin, her daughters, Kris Scelfo in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and Susan Razzaz in Amman, Jordan, her niece, Kim Muench, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Union Congregational Church in the Spring. Condolences to the family may be sent to Martin Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.