VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/2/11)—Rev. Dr. Peter J. Gomes, an American Baptist preacher and professor at Harvard Divinity School, died February 28 at 68 years of age.
Gomes was the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and served as Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church since 1970. He was also a member of the Divinity School faculty and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.
“Dr. Gomes was a highly respected scholar and world-recognized preacher who sought to handle the controversy that swirled around him with gentle grace and good humor,” said A. Roy Medley, American Baptist general secretary. “In the struggles around the issue of human sexuality, he sought to make his contribution to the debate within the Church through scholarship and personal transparency. As is to be expected in such matters of heated debate, his views were rejected by some and welcomed by others. We extend to his family and friends our sincere condolences in their grief.”
Gomes was the author of numerous books, articles, and sermons. His books included best-sellers “The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart” and “Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living.”
“We are deeply saddened by this loss,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Peter Gomes was an original. For 40 years, he has served Harvard as a teacher in the fullest sense — a scholar, a mentor, one of the great preachers of our generation, and a living symbol of courage and conviction. Through his wisdom and appreciation of the richness of the human spirit Reverend Gomes has left an indelible mark on the institution he served with unmatched devotion and creativity. He will be sorely missed.”
Gomes participated in the inaugurations of both President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. He was educated in the Plymouth, Mass., public schools and graduated from Bates College with an A.B. degree in 1965. He received the S.T.B. degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1968, and was ordained ordained by the First Baptist Church of Plymouth in the same year.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.