Recollections at Age 88 by J. Emmett Herndon

Recollections at Age 88 by J. Emmett Herndon

Let me introduce myself. From 1955-90, I spent 35 years in campus ministry at Stetson University and Emory University.  While at Emory, I also worked with faculty groups at Agnes Scott College, Georgia State University and Oglethorpe University.  And inherited the ministry at Georgia Tech.  I am now 88 years old living at Lenbrook, a retirement center in Atlanta, where I lead a Great Decisions Discussion Group. So, here goes.

I remember-

being nominated to be the NCMA president but losing the election to a friend at Duke;

being a dorm chaplain in a large women’s dormitory with office hours 9-12 P.M. on Sunday nights;

having 60 nursing students attend a series on Pain, Suffering and Death, an idea I stole from Harry Smith at UNC;

developing special ministries with medical students;

moderating 8 faculty-staff discussion groups monthly;

coordinating the programs of the Biomedical Ethics Group for 18 years;

getting 25 phone calls on a Sunday night from women with unwanted and unplanned pregnancies;

being a plaintiff in our case against Georgia’s restrictive abortion laws;

taking 80 students from Emory and the Atlanta University complex to an ecumenical conference in Athens, Ohio;

our stopping at a barbeque place in Ohio for dinner and having Father Scott and me persuade those good old boys that they should serve us in their dining room;

training students and providing draft counseling for students and faculty and winning every case;

being charged with heresy by a nearby Presbyterian Church and it almost went to trial;

a committee that I chaired to plan the college conference at Montreat deciding to move to Banner Elk because of certain racial restrictions on conferees;

hate mail I received on occasions and spook telephone calls;

choosing to stay in campus ministry after being considered to be a dean in student affairs at two universities. (Editor’s Note: “Why? Because of the money, my high paying salary?”)


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