It is with deep sadness that the family of Rev. Dr. Theodore J. Weeden (Ted) announce his passing on Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023. Ted was a father, brother, uncle, minister, theologian, and advocate for social justice as Christ before him had been. Born in Long branch, NJ, Ted achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and graduated from high school at 16. He answered the "call" to the ministry at age 16, and attended Emory University, receiving his Bachelor of Arts at 20 years of age and his Bachelor of Divinity degree at age 22. He faithfully served churches in the North Georgia Annual Conference before moving with his family to Southern California where he served congregations and earned a PhD at the Claremont Graduate School and University Center. Ted taught at Occidental College and taught and produced biblical scholarship at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, Crozier Theological Seminary in Chester, PA, and finally at Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School and at St. Bernard’s Divinity School in Rochester, NY. Ted fully re-entered pastoral ministry again with service at Wesley United Methodist Church (now New Light UMC) and Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester, NY for many years prior to retirement.
Ted is remembered for many professional and pastoral achievements, including his book, Mark: Traditions and Conflict, a groundbreaking analysis of the disciples and the early church in the time that the Gospel of Mark was written. Other important scholarship followed, culminating in his participation in the Jesus Seminar toward the end of the 20th century. Ted’s concern for the welfare of the community around him can be tied to Dr. Martin Luther King’s conception of the Beloved Community, as former Crozier colleague Kenneth L. Smith identifies the term in his book, Search for the Beloved Community. Smith defines the Beloved Community as “a vision of a completely integrated society, a community of love and justice.” Ted enacted this vision while a faculty member at Shaw University, when he helped to form HOME, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, an advocacy organization promoting fair housing in the Raleigh, NC, area. This vision continued to the end of his career, when as Senior Pastor at Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester, he led the congregation through initiatives designed to engage the church with marginalized communities and he promoted the diversification of the pastoral staff serving the church.
Through it all, Ted was a devoted father, supporting his children in their endeavors. He was the greatest fan and supporter of his children’s participation in athletics. He enjoyed playing touch football, hearts, and board games with family, building camaraderie with a playful banter. He found great joy in celebrating important family events, Sunday meals, birthday celebrations, Christmas holidays, and family vacations. He was a generous supporter of the celebrations and endeavors of his extended family. A lover of classical music, Ted was a frequent visitor to the RPO. Many Sunday mornings he would regale his family with some of classical music’s greatest works often at the earliest of hours. Ted was a fan of the outdoors and nature, loving to take his family camping or to a lakeside retreat near some of the family residences over the years.
Ted will be missed by his five children, Scott (Sheryl Stump) Weeden, Ted (Beth Sabin) Weeden, Mike (Ellen) Weeden, Brian (Beth) Weeden, Anne (Patrick) Weeden-Franssen, six Grandchildren, Aaron Weeden, Rebecca Weeden, Elizabeth (Colgan) McNeil, Chris (Genia) Guerra, Hannah Weeden, Skylar Franssen, one great Grand-child(Charlotte Jane), his sister Judith and brother Dick, nieces and nephews, and other members of the extended family. He was predeceased by his parents, Clarence and Meredith Weeden, and brother-in-law, Dr. Al Ziffer. He will be loved in life everlasting.
A Celebration of his life will be held at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1040 East Avenue, Rochester, New York, on Saturday, July 8 at 11:00 a.m. Gifts in memory and celebration of Ted’s life may be given to Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Avenue, Rochester, NY, 14607; or, The King Center, 449 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30312.
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