Dear Pacific School of Religion Community,
We are saddened to share that Dr. A. (Andrew) Durwood Foster, Pacific School of Religion Emeritus Professor, passed away on May 20 in Ashland, Oregon, surrounded by his family. The memorial service for Dr. A. Durwood Foster will be held Saturday, June 24 at 2:00 PM in the Pacific School of Religion chapel. PSR alumna Sharon Burch will preside, and PSR President David Vásquez-Levy will be one of the speakers. A reception will follow in the Badé Museum.
Dr. Foster came to PSR as Associate Professor of Christian Theology in 1959, and was named Professor of Systematic Theology in 1964. He served as Dean from 1974 until 1979. His areas of interest included liberation theology, interfaith dialogue, theology and the natural sciences, and theology and art. Dr. Foster’s courses covered Tillich, Wesley, and Christian-Buddhist dialogue. He retired from PSR in 1992.
Dr. Foster described his vocation as, “bearing witness, through all my limitations, to the wholeness of the Gospel vision in realistic relation to the problems of contemporary life.”
An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Foster was a graduate of Emory University and Union Theological Seminary. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar at Heidelberg, and was a visiting scholar at Gottingen, Columbia, Basel, Berlin, and Oxford. His teaching career sent him around the world, from Durham, North Carolina to Bangalore, India to New York City. Dr. Foster authored The God Who Loves, co-edited Hermeneutics and Unification Theology and Original Sin and Society, and contributed to numerous journals and books.
Kay Schellhase, PSR’s Archivist, fondly remembers Durwood’s expansive and precise vocabulary—“you often had to get a dictionary after having a conversation with him.”
Rev. Dr. Mary Donovan Turner reflects: “My first year of teaching at PSR was Durwood Foster’s last. He was everything you hope a senior colleague will be—gracious, hospitable, and affirming. Because we both had ties to the south and to Emory University in particular, he seemed to take a special interest in my well being, always the consummate mentor and friend.”
Dr. Foster is survived by his children, Catherine (Berkeley, CA) and Robyn (Kansas City, MO). The family hopes to hold a memorial service at PSR in June. We will share details as they are confirmed.
Our prayers are with Dr. Foster’s family, friends, and the many students whose lives he shaped during his three-decade tenure at Pacific School of Religion.