Giving thanks for Marj Carpenter

We give thanks for the life and witness of Marj Carpenter.

For many years Marj contributed “Presbyterians In Action” and “In This Corner” to the pages of Presbyterian Outlook. She died June 13 in Big Spring, Texas, following a long illness. She was 93.

We will miss her thoughtful, witty contributions to our pages and her stalwart support of our mission. 

Carpenter was a ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church in Big Spring, Texas. A native Texan, she was a newspaperwoman for 28 years before she began working for the Presbyterian Church. She holds a degree from Texas College of Arts and Industries and was a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Austin College.

She has served First Presbyterian Church on the board of deacons and as chair; on the session and as clerk; and has served on the session of North Decatur Church in Georgia. She was active in other churches in Texas, Georgia and Kentucky. She taught Sunday school, led youth work, directed choirs, held office in Presbyterian Women and was honored by North Dakota Presbyterian Women with a lifetime membership. 

She retired Dec. 31, 1994, as a mission interpreter for the Worldwide Ministry Division. She served for seven years as news director and chief information officer for the PC(USA), and for nine years before that as news director for the PCUS, serving in Louisville and Atlanta. 

In addition, she served as news liaison in the General Assembly newsroom for 16 years, edited “Assembly in Brief” for 16 years and contributed to publications such as the Presbyterian Survey, Horizons and the Presbyterian Outlook.

Prior to working for the church, she worked for Texas newspapers for 28 years and won 97 press awards in three states, including the Associated Press Community Service Award. In 1984 she was named Communicator of Achievement by the National Federation of Press Women (the only non-secular reporter to receive this honor) and was president of that organization for two years.

She worked in the press rooms at two World Council of Churches meetings and two World Alliance of Reformed Churches meetings, served 15 years on the News and Information Committee of the National Council of Churches and has covered numerous ecumenical meetings. 

She traveled to 126 countries including several trips for the National Press Women, which included one trip to Russia where she made a presentation on Russian membership in the Federation of Press Women to the head of TASS, the Russian news agency. 

Marj was elected as moderator to the 207th General Assembly in 1995. She published two books, “To the Ends of the Earth” published in 1995 and “And a Little Bit Farther,” published in 1998.

She has two children, a son Jim Bob and a daughter Carolyn, and a second daughter, Catherine, who died of diabetes.