January 31, 2015
The Rev. Dr. Stephen (Steve) A. Hayner, president emeritus of Columbia Theological Seminary, passed away today at the age of 66 surrounded by family and friends in the Columbia community. Known by many throughout the world with love, affection, and gratitude, Steve was a person of many honors and degrees who refused to categorize others or himself by achievements. His goal was to always live to and for an audience of One, and his hope was to live life with wide open arms and relational integrity. His life was imbued with joy and freedom, which touched and changed many people along the way.
Born June 23, 1948, Steve graduated from Walla Walla High School in Walla Walla, WA. He then attended Whitman College also in Walla Walla, graduating summa cum laude in 1970 with a B.A. in English Literature.
In 1972, Steve continued his education at Harvard Divinity School where he received his M.T.S. in Semitic Studies, and then one year later earned a Th.M. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. While in the Boston area, he served at the well-known Park Street Church where Steve met Sharol Rhodes, whom he later married in June of 1973.
After receiving his degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1973, Steve was ordained and installed as “university pastor” at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA where he was involved with students and faculty. What started as a group of 17 students quickly grew to over 1,200. While there, he utilized two sabbaticals to complete his Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland in 1984.
A service celebrating Steve’s life will be held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 3434 Roswell Road Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30305 on February 23 at 2:00pm.