Former General Seminary dean James Corner Fenhagen dies at 82

By ENS staff
Posted Apr 9, 2012

Story updated April 11 to reflect change in committal service.

[Episcopal News Service] A funeral service was held April 9 at Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church for the Rev. James Corner Fenhagen, 82, who died at Tidelands Community Hospice in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, on April 5.

A second public memorial service is planned in Washington National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel at 2 p.m. EDT April 21. A reception will follow in the cathedral’s College of Preachers building. Fenhagen served as president and warden of the College of Preachers at Washington National Cathedral from 2001-2004. A private committal service will also take place at the cathedral on April 21.

Fenhagen, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, was named president and dean of the General Theological Seminary in New York in 1978 and retired from there in 1992. While at General, he taught in areas related to Christian spirituality and the practice of ministry. He was well known for having helped develop the concept of mutual ministry.

He then became director of the Cornerstone Project of the Episcopal Church Foundation, retiring in 1995. Cornerstone explored issues of clergy and congregational health, wholeness and holiness.

Fenhagen graduated from St. Paul’s School and attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, before receiving his bachelor of arts degree from Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee in 1951. He earned a master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1954, and was awarded honorary degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary, the University of the South’s School of Theology, and Washington and Lee University.

Fenhagen served parishes in Maryland, the District of Columbia and South Carolina, and was also director of the Church and Ministry Program at the Hartford Seminary Foundation.

Fenhagen is survived by his wife, Eulalie McFall Fenhagen, two sons and two grandchildren. He was predeceased in 2005 by a daughter, Eulalie (Leila) Swinton Fenhagen.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church, PO Box 990, Pawleys Island, SC, 29585, or Tidelands Community Hospice Inc., 2591 N. Fraser St., Georgetown, SC, 29440.


Comments (12)

  1. John T. Docker says:

    Jim was a dear friend and mentor and pillar of support.

  2. Douglas E. Theuner says:

    Jim was many things to many people…..all good, by the Grace of God……to none more so than to the Hispanics who came to know our Lord through the Instituto Pastoral Hispano when Jim was Dean of GTS.

  3. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas says:

    I am saddened to hear of Jim’s death. We served together as chaplains to the House of Bishops in the late 1990’s, and I give thanks that I knew him and Eulalie during those years. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  4. Jim was dean of General during the years I was a student. I will never forget the warmth and humor that pervaded Chelsea Square in those days, largely due to Jim’s pastoral style and personal warmth. My condolences to Eulalie and the family and my thanks to God for a life and ministry well-lived.

  5. Richard Lief says:

    I will miss this good man. God’s peace to his family.

  6. Len Freeman says:

    God bless you Jim.

  7. Talmage Bandy says:

    Jim informed my life as an Episcopalian through his character, friendship and his books that are dog-earred in my library from their many readings. We’ve maintained contact since his days at Old St. John’s in Georgetown, DC. We have lost a saint, and heaven has gained one.

  8. John Denham says:

    For many years in the 1960 and 1970s, Jim was my closest and dearest friend. He and Eulalie welcomed me to their home in Georgetown and on summer holidays at Pawley’s Island on numerous occasions. He was outgoing, cheerful, generous and always supportive of my ministries. Although we retired on opposite coasts, a picture of him and Eulalie in cowboy hats reminds me of our good days together. I will miss him.

  9. Charles Newbery says:

    I had the privilege of working closely with Jim during his first ten years at General, he as Dean and President and I as a trustee. He brought new life and vigor when it was badly needed. His leadership was inspiring and his friendship a treasured gift.

  10. The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams says:

    As a student representative, I was part of the search/calling committee for Jim when he was brought in as Dean of GTS. Serving with Bishop Wolf of Maine, alumni, board members and other seminarians, helping to bring Jim to GTS was a highlight of my life. A good man, with a faith that spoke of his love of Jesus, led many to seek vovcation and life in the Church. Our prayers for Eulalie continue. May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.

  11. Paul Briggs says:

    Jim was one of the saints to be sure. His pastoral presence was always in the forefront and he helped me to hone skills and a passion for parish ministry. God bless; my condolences to Eulalie.

  12. JackMMcKelvey says:

    So many gifts shared in so many ways in so many venues. Thx. Servant, very well done.

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