Note #9185 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
06149 March 8, 2006
Jim Andrews dies in traffic accident
Longtime stated clerk helped bring about Presbyterian reunion
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE - The Rev. James E. Andrews, who served as stated clerk of the General Assembly for 23 years, was struck and killed by a car on March 7 while walking near his Decatur, GA, home. He was 77.
Andrews was elected General Assembly stated clerk of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in 1973. He served for one year as co-interim stated clerk with his United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) counterpart, William P. Thompson, following Presbyterian reunion in 1983. The next year, he was elected stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a position he held until his retirement in 1996.
"Jim was passionately dedicated to the church," his widow, Elizabeth, told the Presbyterian News Service. "He'd probably say his crowning achievement was helping to bring about reunion."
Andrews was born in Whittenburg, TX, on Dec. 29, 1928. He graduated from Austin College in Sherman, TX, where he paid his way through school by living in a funeral home and driving its ambulance. He earned his theology degree at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1956.
After seminary, he served for two years as assistant pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Houston, where he delighted in answering the phone, "St. Andrew's Church, Andrews speaking!"
A dedicated ecumenist, Andrews then went to Geneva, where he served from 1958 to 1960 as secretary of information for the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He then returned to the United States and joined the staff of Princeton Theological Seminary as assistant to the president.
In 1971, he was named assistant to the stated clerk of the PCUS; two years later he was elected stated clerk.
In a prepared statement, his successor as stated clerk, the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, said Andrews was "my mentor and dear friend." Kirkpatrick said Andrews' chief characteristics were insight and vision.
"He was one of the primary architects for the 1983 reunion of our two former denominations," Kirkpatrick said. "He expressed and lived out a passion for civil rights. He lifted up the importance of our involvement in ecumenism."
John Detterick, executive director of the General Assembly Council, said "Jim Andrews was not only a forceful leader of this church, but for me was a gentle and wise mentor."
But Andrews could also be stubborn, recalled former Presbyterian News Service director Marj Carpenter. "We were going to Cuba, and Jim was taking some medicine for a child that could not be obtained in Cuba," she said. "They arrested him at the Havana airport for smuggling drugs. He explained what it was and then pulled up a chair and announced, 'I'm sitting here until I get that kid's medicine back.'" Carpenter said a doctor was called in, examined and approved the medication, whereupon it was returned to Andrews. "They REALLY didn't want Jim Andrews sitting in the Havana airport for God knows how long," Carpenter laughed.
Andrews was also a notorious non-morning person, Carpenter said. "When we'd be getting ready for General Assembly," she mused, "he'd say, 'Don't put me down to speak at any breakfasts; neither God nor the Holy Spirit comes to breakfast.'"
Besides his wife, Andrews is survived by two children and four grandsons. His first wife, Patricia Bullock, died in 1959. Services will be held on Sunday, March 12, at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur.
You are currently subscribed to the PCUSANEWS listserv of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
To unsubscribe, send a blank message to
To update your email address, send your old email address and your new one to mailto:PCUSANEWSfirstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions or comments, send an email to mailto:PCUSANEWSemail@example.com.
To learn more, visit http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 100 Witherspoon Street Louisville, KY 40202 (888) 728-7228