The Reverend James Marshall Bank died on July 23, 2009, after three years of living with cancer. He was 65. Rev. Bank was born on November 10, 1943 to Rev. Milton Harold Bank, a Methodist minister, and Fern Richey Bank in Hancock, MI. He graduated from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, in 1965. He earned three graduate divinity degrees from Boston University, an STB in 1968, an AM in Church History in 1969, and a second AM in New Testament Studies in 1976.
In 1971 he was named Lucinda Bidwell Beebe Fellow by the Boston University School of Theology and was invited to study at Cambridge University with Rev. Charles Moule, G. W. H. Lampe, and Ernst Bammel. During the last four years of his academic work, he served as a lecturer and assistant professor in New Testament and Patristics in Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts.
Rev. Bank was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry at King’s Chapel in Boston in 1976 and later that year was commissioned as chaplain in the United States Navy. He served three years on Okinawa where he administered an alcohol and drug abuse prevention program and provided marriage and family counseling in addition to his other pastoral responsibilities. He then served aboard the aircraft carrier, Constellation (CV64), which was deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf during the height of the Iranian hostage crisis.
He entered parish ministry serving the UU Church of Melrose, MA; the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, MD; the UU Church in Silver Spring, MD; and the UU Fellowship at Easton, MD. As interim minister, he served the UU Society of Hartland Four Corners, VT; the UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem, NC; the First Unitarian Society of Exeter, NH; and the UU Congregation of Erie, PA.
Rev. Bank was active in issues of social justice, especially issues of gay rights and AIDS ministry. He was a strong advocate for inter-denominational cooperation on a local level wherever he served. During his years of ministry, Rev. Bank served in the Unitarian Universalist denomination’s Minister on Loan Program to First Unitarian Church of Salem, OR, and as a member of the Religious Education Futures Committee. He served on the AIDS Community Review Panel of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for six years, chairing the Committee in his sixth year. He was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Institutional Review Board for ten years where he oversaw all protocols involving human subjects; he counted this as one of the most meaningful and significant contributions of his lifetime.
His family remembers him as a true renaissance man who loved history, books, films, music, gadgets, animals, story-telling, and being a good Dad. He is survived by his wife, Cathy Miller, and his three daughters, Julia, Sarah, and Sasha Bank.
Messages of condolence may be sent to Cathy Miller, 29170 Woodridge Dr., Easton, MD 21601-4616.