University Names Acting Minister

Wendel W. “Tad” Meyer was appointed acting Pusey Minister of Memorial Church while the search for a permanent appointee begins, the University announced yesterday. He will fill the position left open by the death of Reverend Peter J. Gomes last week.

Meyer, who was appointed as associate minister for administration at the Church this past December, was the associate minister at Memorial Church under Gomes from 1997 to 1999.

“I am enormously grateful that Tad Meyer has agreed to take on this role during such an important moment in the life of Memorial Church and the University,” University President Drew G. Faust said in a statement.

“We are very lucky to have someone of Tad’s experience, intellect, and sensitivity willing and able to step in during this time of transition,” she said.

Meyer, who previously served as rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, Mass. before returning to Harvard, expressed his enthusiasm for assuming his new position in a statement to The Harvard Gazette.

“I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve the University in this way,” he said. “I look forward to working with colleagues at the church and across Harvard to maintain an active ministry and engaged congregation as the University seeks to identify a permanent leader for the Memorial Church.”

In addition to his role overseeing the general operation of the church, Meyer will act as a liaison to the Harvard chaplains. He will also face the task of operating Memorial Church without Gomes.

Gomes held his position as Memorial Church minister for 35 years, during which time the Church retained a strong presence on campus.

“While attendance at some college churches has dwindled, it has not at all at Memorial Church,” Divinity School Professor Emeritus Harvey G. Cox Jr. said last week. “Part of the reason for this is the eloquence of Peter’s preaching and his welcoming attitude.”

In a statement, Meyer acknowledged the large size of the shoes he has to fill.

“I think of this assignment as my small but tangible way to honor the memory of Peter Gomes, who was a cherished friend and mentor to me and to so many others,” he said.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chaplain Robert M. Randolph said that Meyer would lead a successful transition.

“Tad has the confidence of Peter Gomes. It assures the transition the church is going through will go well,” Randolph said. “He’s known in the Memorial Church community. He knows the staff and he has their confidence. It’s a master stroke for Harvard.”

—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at jworland@college.harvard.edu.

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