In Eugene Peterson’s rendering of Matthew 5:14 (“You are the light of the world” in the NRSV) we find these words: “You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”
Have you known someone who brings color to life in what is often a black-and-white world, someone who not only lives the Christian faith, but who finds joy in it? One such person, I believe, was Andy Edington. While I did not know Andy well, I did have the occasion to hear him speak as the Bible study leader at several Mo-Ranch Men’s Conferences in the late 1990s.
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Andy was president of Schreiner from 1950-1971 (until 1971 Schreiner was a military institute/junior college). In 1973 Schreiner phased out its high school curriculum and strengthened its college curriculum. In 1981 it became a four-year institute of higher learning.
In addition to serving as president of Schreiner, Andy, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Kerrville, also delivered Bible studies that were broadcast over KERV radio station in Kerrville. In 1988 he published The Word Made Fresh: A Down to Earth Version of the Bible in which he provided “selected scriptural accounts using today’s images as vehicles for the timeless truth” (from the Foreword by Sam Junkin).
In his retirement Andy began to serve as a volunteer assistant to the chaplain to death row inmates at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. His lively Bible studies at the Mo-Ranch Men’s Conference drew heavily on his experiences there. They were filled with humor, tension, and poignancy. According to one account, Edington, alone with several prisoners prior to a Bible study, had sat down in a seat that was customarily occupied by a large, burly, intimidating inmate. When the prisoner showed up and stood in front of the much smaller and thinner Bible study leader, Edington, unaware of this man’s reputation, simply stood up and hugged him. That broke the tension in the room and endeared Edington to all who were there, including the much-feared inmate.
The annual gathering of the Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest will be held March 7-8 at Mo-Ranch and will focus on the life and ministry of this gifted man who exhibited the “God-colors” of the gospel. He would have turned 100 years old in January. Anyone wishing to receive printed transcripts of the presentations may insure this by joining the Society -- $20.00 for an individual, $25.00 for a couple, and $50.00 for a church or an institution. Checks may be made out to PHSSW and mailed to: Dr. James S. Currie, 4647 Preston Ave., Pasadena, TX 77505.