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In Memory . . . Suzanne Pike Meyer (1953-2010)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Suzanne Pike Meyer. She died on January 23, 2010, in the presence of loving friends. She was 56. Rev. Meyer was born on Nov. 24, 1953 in the Florence Nightingale wing of Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas, the only child of Robert and Pansy Pike. She was a graduate of the University of Houston (Broadcast Journalism 1976) and Meadville/Lombard Theological School (M.Div. 1983). She was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry on June 19, 1983 by the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, British Columbia, where she had completed her internship. She went on to successfully serve Unitarian Universalist churches in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, and Wyoming, along with postgraduate Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Luke’s/Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and Austin State Hospital in Austin, Texas.

As a child Rev. Meyer taught herself to read, which fueled a lifelong ambition to become a writer. She would realize this in ministry as many colleagues considered her as one of the finest writers of her generation, as well as an outstanding preacher and pastor. Her early career in broadcast journalism was sidetracked when in the fall of 1977, she was hired by Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), a national nonprofit criminal justice reform organization headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia. While at a Memorial Service at the local Unitarian Universalist Church she had what she would later describe as a conversion experience. Raised in the Southern Baptist Church, Rev. Meyer had fallen away from the church in her early adult years as she found the church "irrelevant” to the pressing social, economic, and justice issues of the day. But, at that memorial she was so profoundly moved by an experience of the love of God that she found herself called to service in ministry. After a year at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, she made her way to Meadville/Lombard, where her intellect and her faith grew to be an inspiration to so many, and where she later served on the Board of Trustees.

Rev. Meyer was as devoted in her affection to others as was the Biblical Ruth, as deep in her allegiance to the Free Church as Hosea, and as sharp in her "truth-telling” as Jeremiah. She was held in esteem by colleagues and congregants for her deep insight into the religious issues of culture, and harbored a long love for the spiritual insights of Southern authors, especially Flannery O’Connor. She will be missed by so many because she embodied the balance between the love a pastor gives to others, and the truth she must tell about humanity. She knew both God’s love and judgment, and knew when to call forth the one or the other.

She was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer in August of 2009. During her illness she was lovingly cared for by her friends from previous congregations, her colleagues, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne, and others. Memorial Services for her were held in Unitarian Universalist churches in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and St. Louis, Missouri. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of your choice, or to one of the churches she so ably served.

Lovingly written by Rev. Jack Bryant, Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger, and Dr. Brent A. Smith

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