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John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:01 am
by Haruo
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Today is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of my father, John Lister Ross. Born in Northport, Washington, on December 14, 1916 to John Ross and Elsie Lister Ross, he grew up in Kettle Falls and subsequently Spokane, graduating in January, 1936, from North Central High School, and studied briefly at Washington State College in Pullman and then Whitworth College in Spokane. After receiving a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Washington, he studied theology at the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (now American Baptist Seminary of the West), receiving his BD in 1945, and then a couple years later, having meanwhile married my mother, Janet Jacobsen, an STM from Newton Theological Seminary (later part of Andover-Newton) and completing a pastoral apprenticeship as Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Malden, Massachusetts, under the mentorship of Dr. Hillyer Straton. Returning to the Puget Sound area, he served 1947-1950 as Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Tacoma, and 1950-1952 as Pastor of Calvary Baptist, Seattle, now Wedgwood Community Church. From 1953 to his death in 1968, he was Director of what began as the Baptist-Disciples Student Center at the University of Washington, later (after the UCC joined) known as Koinonia Center, a founding component of the subsequent Covenant House student center, which may still exist although the Baptists and Disciples no longer participate at the pastoral level. He was active in the Civil Rights movement, meeting and on at least one occasion marching with Dr. King, and taking students from Seattle with him to demonstrations in the Southeast (as well as here in Seattle), and in the early stages of Christian opposition to the War in Vietnam (he was a charter member of the Seattle chapter of CALCAV). The last year of his life he was on Sabbatical leave from Koinonia Center, and got a position filling in for a missionary on stateside furlough at the Waseda Hoshien Christian Student Center in Tokyo, where he taught conversational English and lectured (in English with simultaneous translation by Miyabe-sensei) on topics like The Secular City, the "Death of God" Theology, and the American Civil Rights movement. Three weeks after our return to Seattle, both my parents were killed in a traffic accident.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:09 am
by William Thornton
I appreciate the brief bio, Haruo, and enjoyed reading it.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:50 am
by KeithE
Yes that was very interesting.

I barely missed intersecting with your dad at UW. I was there from Sept 1968 to March 1972.

I do not recall the Baptist-Disciples Student Center or the Koinonia Center or Covenant House. The only student Christian organizations near Campus I remember were the Baptist Student Union on 45th Street (was that the same as the "Baptist-Disciples Student Center"?) and the University Christian Union House (UCU) at 16th Avenue and 47th Street which is where I lived for three years. Also the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) was active but did not have a location.

I would have benefitted from participating at the Baptist-Disciples Student Center. I had fallouts at the UCU and the CCC over my denial of biblical infallibility. I also had major health problems (tens of blot clots, 7 hospital stays, 4 pulmonary emboli, ending with a vein cava Miles Clamp and coumadin for life). About half of the 30 UCU students thought that my religious views was the cause of my health problems. By my senior year I left living there. Although I had couple of friends, cousin Linda Johnson Morris (who you met at 1st Covenant), and the Youth Minister at 1st Covenant that visited me while in Swedish Hospital, I had no one to talk theology with. If they were talking such things as Cox’s Secular City, which I read at that time, the Koinonia Center have filled that void.

Your dad seems like a very perceptive and giving person.

One more thing, I will be rooting for UW vs my beloved BAMA football team. And my son has bought us tickets to the game at 3:00 PM EST in the Georgia Dome.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:20 am
by Mrs Haruo
:D Gee I wish I had know you were at Swedish, I could have come over on the bus from Kirkland and we could have discussed theology or fresh baked brownies or life at Lake Washington High School. Then when you were better you could come over to my house and we could take the pony for a spin in the cart in the front pasture and I could show you my tree house (watch over on the right side, the floor boards are beginning to rot). If you didn't mind Presbyterians you could always sit in on a rehearsal of the Power and Light Company. We had a road show of "Tell It Like It Is" from 1970 till 72 and started working on another one around the time Leland and I graduated in 72.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:08 am
by KeithE
Mrs Haruo wrote::D Gee I wish I had know you were at Swedish, I could have come over on the bus from Kirkland and we could have discussed theology or fresh baked brownies or life at Lake Washington High School. Then when you were better you could come over to my house and we could take the pony for a spin in the cart in the front pasture and I could show you my tree house (watch over on the right side, the floor boards are beginning to rot). If you didn't mind Presbyterians you could always sit in on a rehearsal of the Power and Light Company. We had a road show of "Tell It Like It Is" from 1970 till 72 and started working on another one around the time Leland and I graduated in 72.

All those missed opportunities. :(

I often sat in worship services at University Presbyterian Church with Rev Robert Munger. But believe it or not they did not have a college class located just one block from the UW campus.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:35 am
by Tim Bonney
Thank you for sharing about your Father, Haruo!

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:13 pm
by Haruo
KeithE wrote:I often sat in worship services at University Presbyterian Church with Rev Robert Munger. But believe it or not they did not have a college class located just one block from the UW campus.

My guess is in 1968 they thought the programs offered at Westminster House, their student center on the SE corner of 17th and 47th, made a college class at the church superfluous. And not too long after that they closed (I guess) Westminster House and moved its programs into Covenant House, which was in the 4500 block of 19th. Covenant House was a folding together of the campus ministries of half a dozen denominations (maybe more at its high point); three of those (ABC, DOC and UCC) had been operating Koinonia Center for several years, on the SW corner of 45th and 15th. The DOC campus minister as of 1968 was Tom McCormick, and I think the UCC was Mineo Katagiri. After the program moved to Covenant House, the ABC campus minister for many years was Brooke Rolston, but after his retirement (or downsizing?) ABC did not have a campus minister as such at the UW, and what programs there were were run by and out of, for the most part, University Baptist Church, which was at 47th and 12th.

I'm sorry you didn't connect with the Covenant House folks while you were there. (Covenant House also included, at least for a while, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and some sort of Catholic ministries. Not sure what happened to places like the Wesley Club and the Newman Center during that period.) Of course they were theologically (and perhaps politically) way too far left to be viewed as "really Christian" by the BSU (which I knew a few years later as Maranatha House), Campus Crusade, etc.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:17 pm
by Tim Bonney
The Wesley Foundation at University of Northern Iowa shares facilities with the Episcopal Church's campus ministry there.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:34 pm
by Haruo
KeithE wrote:One more thing, I will be rooting for UW vs my beloved BAMA football team. And my son has bought us tickets to the game at 3:00 PM EST in the Georgia Dome.
I might have added that one year in the mid-sixties when the Huskies went to (and, I think, won) the Rose Bowl, Daddy went with them as Team Chaplain.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:35 pm
by Haruo
Timothy Bonney wrote:The Wesley Foundation at University of Northern Iowa shares facilities with the Episcopal Church's campus ministry there.

Now they're in the back of University Methodist Temple, but I think for a while they were in Covenant House.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:41 pm
by Tim Bonney
Haruo wrote:Now they're in the back of University Methodist Temple, but I think for a while they were in Covenant House.


It is nice to share facilities when you can. That is one of the larger expenses for campus ministry other than staff.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:33 pm
by KeithE
Haruo wrote:
KeithE wrote:I often sat in worship services at University Presbyterian Church with Rev Robert Munger. But believe it or not they did not have a college class located just one block from the UW campus.

My guess is in 1968 they thought the programs offered at Westminster House, their student center on the SE corner of 17th and 47th, made a college class at the church superfluous. And not too long after that they closed (I guess) Westminster House and moved its programs into Covenant House, which was in the 4500 block of 19th. Covenant House was a folding together of the campus ministries of half a dozen denominations (maybe more at its high point); three of those (ABC, DOC and UCC) had been operating Koinonia Center for several years, on the SW corner of 45th and 15th. The DOC campus minister as of 1968 was Tom McCormick, and I think the UCC was Mineo Katagiri. After the program moved to Covenant House, the ABC campus minister for many years was Brooke Rolston, but after his retirement (or downsizing?) ABC did not have a campus minister as such at the UW, and what programs there were were run by and out of, for the most part, University Baptist Church, which was at 47th and 12th.

I'm sorry you didn't connect with the Covenant House folks while you were there. (Covenant House also included, at least for a while, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and some sort of Catholic ministries. Not sure what happened to places like the Wesley Club and the Newman Center during that period.) Of course they were theologically (and perhaps politically) way too far left to be viewed as "really Christian" by the BSU (which I knew a few years later as Maranatha House), Campus Crusade, etc.


I don’t remember any Westminster House at SE corner 17th Ave (Fraternity Row) and 47th St in the 1968-1972 period. But you may be right since I could not tell you what frat/sorority was at that location. I lived one very short block from there at the UCU House for 3 years and went irregularly (maybe 1 month) to the UPC Church which was between 16th Ave and 15th Ave at 47th St. And I never heard about the Westminster House while attending UPC. UCU people frowned on going to hear Dr. Munger who I enjoyed and talked with a few times (he knew several people in my home church in Calif). Perhaps I was in the hospital too much or maybe the Westminster House was not active in that period.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:46 pm
by Haruo
I could be wrong about the location of Westminster House. The bldg I'm thinking of is small and nondescript. I think now the Presbyterian campus ministry is on 16th behind the church.

Re: John Lister Ross, 1916-1968

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:25 pm
by KeithE
Haruo wrote:I could be wrong about the location of Westminster House. The bldg I'm thinking of is small and nondescript. I think now the Presbyterian campus ministry is on 16th behind the church.

There was a small building connected with UPC which was right across the street from where I lived. I don’t remember what that was used for and I never was in it.

Great tribute

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:15 pm
by Stephen Fox
Thanks for sharing Haruo. I second much of the response to this point.

If he marched in Selma in 65 he woulda been there with Furman's TC Smith and , one of the cofounders with Clarence Jordan of Koinonia Farms.