Beloved Pastor Was Known For Her Inclusiveness And Welcoming Nature
Parishioners at University Presbyterian Church are coming to grips with the sudden death of their popular pastor over the weekend. The Rev. Kelly S. Allen was attending a women's conference at Mo Ranch in Hunt, Texas, when she suffered a stroke on Friday. She passed away on Sunday morning. She was 50.
David Germer is director of Christian Education at University Presbyterian. He says Allen's favorite passage from the Presbyterian Book of Order that called on people to live out and witness to the Gospel of Jesus.
"We were called to not think of our safety or criticism or what a certain action might cost us, just whether or not it was faithful to Jesus and the call to be witnesses to Jesus," he said.
Germer says Allen conducted same-sex marriages and welcomed the LGBTQ community and others who often suffered exclusion. Germer says Allen's office was just across from his and he'll miss living his daily life with her. Allen had been pastor at University Presbyterian for seven years.
Allen had been ordained in 1992 and has served congregations in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri, Buckinghamshire, England, prior to her work in San Antonio. She and her husband have been married since 1988 and have two children, according University Presbyterian's website.
In reflecting on over 20 years in pastoral ministry, Kelly said in her own words:
“My life has been enriched by participating in prison ministry, foster parenting, and learning about Benedictine spirituality. I love the outdoors, a good novel, and Masterpiece Mystery. I love leading church officer training, investigating challenges of faith in the workplace, planning worship with a team, and speaking out for justice issues in the community. My studies in England led me to write my dissertation on exploring the positive uses of religious practice in conflict around the world. This learning has had surprising and wonderful applications in my own ministry since then."
Germer says Allen's passing has been very difficult for the congregation.
"Very, very hard. She was an incredible pastor and a dynamic leader and our grief is new and it will be a long road but Kelly taught us what is means to be a community so we are leaning on each other," he said.
As news of her death reached her parishioners, friends and supporters, grief and tributes were shared across social media over the weekend. Some were comforted with the knowledge that she had donated her organs which would help others live -- another testament to who she was in life.