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Remembering Distinguished Alum, Bishop Rueben P. Job

January 5, 2015

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s distinguished alum, Bishop Rueben P. Job, died on January 3, 2015 at the age of 86. A retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Job was at the forefront in spiritual formation within the Church, serving as consultant in Christian spirituality, spiritual retreat leader and a spiritual guide.

A 1957 graduate of Evangelical Theological Seminary, Bishop Job was named distinguished alum of Garrett-Evangelical in 1992 in recognition of his diverse ministry and significant contributions to the Church and our world. In addition to establishing the Rueben P. Job Endowed Scholarship in 2007, Garrett-Evangelical honored Bishop Job’s extensive commitment and contributions to spiritual formation through the endowment of the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation in 2013. The Rueben P. Job Endowed Chair in Spiritual Formation was one of the first chairs in spiritual formation among Protestant seminaries in North America and serves as a lasting legacy to Bishop Job’s lifelong commitment to Christian spirituality. “The creation of a chair in spiritual formation brings me great pleasure,” said Bishop Job upon hearing the $2 million dollar goal had been reached. “Garrett-Evangelical’s commitment to spiritual formation studies is to be commended and I am pleased to know others will have this viable resource in the future.”

"Garrett-Evangelical continues to celebrate the life and ministry of Rueben P. Job. We are proud to call him one of ours," said President Lallene J. Rector. "Perhaps the most striking thing about Bishop Job, for me, was the way he quietly radiated a closeness to God. His 'godliness,' along with the wisdom that accompanied his closeness to God, inspired others' spiritual lives. His embodiment of God's love persuaded us that Bishop Job's own spiritual walk was as genuine, trustworthy and deep as any. His faithfulness was transformative, and while we will miss him, his spirit and witness live on."

Bishop Job was ordained an elder in 1957 in the Evangelical United Brethen Church (EUB) and served as a pastor in North Dakota, a U.S. Air Force Chaplain in Europe, and bishop of the Iowa Annual Conference. He was also on staff of the General Board of Evangelism of the EUB from 1965-1968 and on the general staff of the United Methodist Board of Evangelism and Discipleship from 1968-1977. Bishop Job eventually became World Editor of The Upper Room, a position he held until his election to the episcopacy. While he was bishop, Job served on the General Commission of Communications and as chairperson of the Hymnal Revision Committee. Bishop Job’s extensive writings include Living Fully, Dying Well (Abingdon, 2006) and Three Simple Rules: A Wesley Way of Living (Abingdon, 2007), which continues to be widely used across the church.

Reflecting on the life and work of Bishop Job, The Reverend Dr. Frederick Schmidt, the first faculty member to hold the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation, observed, “Bishop Job understood the deep connections between the journey inward and the journey outward. His prayerful, measured, and visionary leadership was grounded in the conviction that the Christian life demanded ‘radical trust in God’s presence, power, wisdom, and guidance.’ That conviction, which he so clearly articulated in his book, Three Simple Rules, powerfully shaped the way that he lived, served, and died. The United Methodist Church will be forever indebted to him for his commitment to the revitalization of the spiritual lives of its clergy and laity.”

Bishop Job is survived by his wife Beverly, their four children and seven grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 18, at 2 p.m. at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorial gifts be made to Belmont United Methodist Church or the Rueben P. Job Endowed Scholarship at Garrett-Evangelical. Memorial gifts for the scholarship can be made online at or you can mail your check to the attention of the development office at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60201.

A service of remembrance for Bishop Job will be held at Garrett-Evangelical at the beginning of the spring semester (February 2015). Details for the service will be available mid-January.