Rev. Dr. Gerald Jud (1919-2019) – Son and grandson of Evangelical pastors, he served as a part-time pastor in one of his father’s former Texas churches after graduating from Baylor in 1940. After graduating from McCormick Theological Seminary in 1943, he came to Yale Divinity, and served as Student Assistant at our Church until 1946, when he became Senior Pastor here. He received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1950. He had been so diligent in his duties here, with wisdom beyond his years, while maintaining a notable scholarly record at Yale, he was the immediate and unanimous choice of the Pastoral Supply Committee – the youngest in over a century - upon the resignation of Rev. Hinkelman. He met and married his wife Esther when both were at Yale Divinity – they were a strong team – and their daughter Carol was the first child born in the parsonage in many years. Esther drowned in a boating accident while visiting West Haven in 1961 – hence the Esther Stuermer Jud Memorial Hymnal.
Rev. Jud’s ministry was innovative, loving, and profoundly inspirational. He formed study groups that helped people meet life’s problems in Christ’s spirit, as well as Lenten home meetings. He began the tradition of holding periodic retreats. He developed the Colony System to further strengthen the spirit of togetherness, which he called the Beloved Community. His development of his Yale Student Assistants was widely recognized, with many of them making important contributions to ministry. His Ph.D. being in the psychology of religion, counseling became increasingly important in his ministry. His sermons were “spell-binding,” as well as scholarly.
The great test of his leadership and inspiration was the rebuilding of the Steeple, destroyed by the hurricane in 1950, despite many financing and construction difficulties. He achieved not only a better and more beautiful structure, but a more united community better able to do God’s work. He also inspired the initial work in raising funds and building the Education Building. In his time, our Church had 1500 members and 500 in the Sunday School.
From 1960 to 1975 he served in high positions in the UCC, as well as positions in the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches in Geneva. Through these years he became increasingly interested in the Human Potential movement and since 1975 operated the Shalom Mountain Retreat Center, and since about 1990, the Timshel Center for the Study and Practice of Mysticism until shortly before the time of his death in 2019 at the age of 100. He authored 7 books and coauthored 6 books and many articles on church and culture.
He had planned to attend church here, give a mini-sermon, and have lunch on June 3, 2018, at age 99, but had to cancel due to last minute illness.