Friday, June 10, 2011

The Passing of a Friend

Pictured above (L to R): TCBF Coordinators Ircel Harrison, Jr., September 1998-2008;  C. William Junker, January - April 1996; Lila Anderson Boyd, January 1997-August 1998; and Lloyd T. Householder, Jr. November 1994-1995. 
Writing is both a discipline and an outlet for me.  I learned this by having opportunities to write!  When I was a young campus minister, I was surprised and a little proud when Bill Junker asked me to write my first article for THE STUDENT magazine.  His recognition and encouragement meant a lot to me.

I had first met Bill at Ridgecrest when I was a student and came to admire his measured yet prophetic work with the publications of the Student Department of the Baptist Sunday School Board in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  When I became campus minister at Middle Tennessee State University in 1970, I had the chance to “hang around” some of the staff at the Sunday School Board.  I learned a lot about Bill including his commitment to Vanderbilt basketball and his family.

Like all good journalists, Bill got into hot water from time to time, but I found that this usually came because he was willing to tackle some issues that Southern Baptists did not always want to address.  Bill was “quietly passionate.”  When he was convicted about something, he did not get angry (at least outwardly), he got busy!

Bill and I had limited contact during his Home Mission Board years, but we renewed our friendship when he and Patsy moved back to Nashville.  We soon found ourselves at the same moderate Baptist meetings, and I was pleased when Bill took a leadership role in the formation of the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and served for a brief period as part-time coordinator of the group.

When time came to employ a full-time TCBF coordinator, Bill was on the selection committee, but I was still a bit nervous when I interviewed with the group.  I was recommended and employed for the position and found Bill and Patsy to be both encouragers and supporters every step of the way.  For several years, he continued to contribute to the TCBF News.  Faithful members of Glendale Baptist Church, they were flag-bearers for the Cooperative Baptist movement in their congregation.

Bill passed away Wednesday after a long illness.  A committed and progressive Christian, Bill was mentor, friend, leader, and committed church person but also devoted husband, father, and grandfather.  I give thanks for his strength, passion, and service and will miss his counsel.

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