Letter of appreciation for Stephen Mott

James Luther Adams Foundation


Board of Trustees: George Kimmich Beach, president (gkbeach@aol.com, 540-948-5317); Rob Packenham, secretary; Norman Faramelli, treasurer; Judith Deutsch, Robert Kraig, James Stillman, Frederick Wooden.
Advisory Committee: Richard Boeke, J. Ronald Engel, William Johnson Everett, Galen Guengerich, Doris Hunter, Michael Hogue, Theodore Kraig, Scotty McLennan, Susan Ritchie, Sid Slobodkin, Jeffrey Speaks.
Web and Communications Manager: Rob Packenham rpackenham@gmail.com; Web consultant: Christopher Walton


February 10, 2022

The Rev. Dr. Stephen C. Mott

Dear Stephen,

I am writing on behalf of the James Luther Adams Foundation Board of Trustees and Advisory Committee to express our deep appreciation to you for your service and leadership to our organization—an ecclesiola in ecclesia, as Jim Adams might more elegantly say!  

Meeting by Zoom conference call on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, I informed the group of your decision to withdraw from the Board due to health concerns. There were many expressions of disappointment.  Some of us have known you personally and in your academic and ministerial callings, and the others recalled your devoted service to the Foundation over a period of many years.  Those who have not known you personally heard from those who have about you and your tireless service. Your Presidency of the Foundation extended for a quarter of a century, meaning that you bore the primary responsibility for the programs, finances, archive maintenance, website, constituency letters, and leadership for a constantly changing Board.  The Foundation has had several Presidents since its founding, but none can match the longevity of your faithful service.

The James Luther Adams Forum on Religion and Society began during your Presidency, and with your leadership, in 1996–Max Stackhouse’s lecture, titled “Graceful Prophecy: James Luther Adams’s Theology of Art and Ethics.”  It continued with a highly distinguished series of speakers, maintaining and amplifying the intellectual and spiritual legacy of Dr. Adams.  These presentations remain accessible through the Foundation website and university archives, thus sustaining his work.  Your characteristic modesty may not allow you to speak freely of this  achievement; it is, nevertheless, one of which you can justly be proud.  

I am aware of the great respect that Dr. Adams had for you and your work.  He cites your “invaluable book” titled Biblical Ethics and Social Change, referring to it in a sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan as exemplifying “the prophetic quality of this kind of Evangelical.”  High praise from one who was conscious of his own Evangelical roots and felt that you, Stephen, were a kindred spirit in his own prophetic Christian tradition.  How fitting, then, that you should take up the cause of celebrating and extending the legacy of JLA all these years!

Taking your leave from the governing Board of the Foundation must be for you an emotionally difficult step. You have done so with grace and humility.  We are also aware of a second, far greater loss that you have suffered at this time in the passing of your beloved wife, Sandra.  I recall communications in recent years past when you spoke of the serious illness suffered by your “dear Sandy”—a woman of high professional accomplishment, as I’ve learned from the Boston Globe obit (to which Doris Hunter alerted me).  Your loving care for her has been, I am sure, your greatest gift.  My heart goes out to you and all your large family for her loss.

Coming to such ends we can only give thanks  to God for the many gifts that have come to us, and chief among them beloved others, and thanks also for our own opportunities to give in return.  

With thanks and good wishes to you now and always,

George Kimmich Beach, President
James Luther Adams Foundation

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