Frederick Buechner, M.Div. ʼ58, Unitas Distinguished Alumnus ʼ08, Whose Ministry was his Writing, Dies at 96
His readers, he said, were his “invisible congregation.” An ordained Presbyterian minister who never pastored a church, he liked “to keep a particular ear cocked to the elusive, ambiguous presence of God.”
The author of 39 books, Buechner produced an opus that included memoirs, essays, sermons and critically acclaimed novels—one nominated for the National Book Award, another for a Pulitzer. But he is best known for his memoirs, in which he gave, in the words of one reviewer, “a sustained glimpse of a thoughtful, articulate and humble man who sees the world, each of us, and himself as well-worn patchworks of hope and despair, selflessness and selfishness, light and dark, life and death.”
Some of the country’s greatest preachers have acknowledged their debt to Buechner for all they have borrowed from him.
Union President Serene Jones shared, “We are all so deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Union alum Frederick Buechner, a wonderful and gifted human being. He was a prolific writer whose commitment to his faith came through in his incredibly thought provoking, wide-ranging writings. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”