RCA Grieves Death of Fifth-Generation Missionary Lew Scudder
The Reformed Church in America honors the legacy of Lew Scudder, a retired RCA missionary, who passed away in the early morning hours of All Saints’ Day, November 1, on the island of Cyprus, where he and his wife, Nancy, have made their home for two decades.
Lew and Nancy served as missionaries in Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, and Cyprus from 1966 until their retirement in 2008. He served in various capacities in the Middle East, including director of the communication office for the Middle East Council of Churches, and mission consultant and educator for the RCA. Lew was the fifth generation within the Scudder family to serve as an RCA missionary.
“When Lew had a perspective on something, he was almost always right,” says Duncan Hanson, former supervisor of RCA mission in Europe and the Middle East, who supervised the Scudders. “When it was about the Middle East or missiology, it was based on enormous experience and background.”
Though Hanson was Scudder’s supervisor, the relationship was far more collegial: “The main point is that he was my supervisor,” says Hanson. “Lew taught me systematically. I really learned an enormous amount from him. He was so wise and so knowledgeable.”
The son of Lewis and Dorothy, Scudder was born while his parents were serving on the mission field in Kuwait. He attended Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, and earned advanced degrees from the American University of Beirut and the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
“It is a major transition for the RCA because Lew was the last missionary to come from his family,” says Hanson. Scudder’s great-great-grandfather, John Scudder, began serving in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in 1819. Successive generations served in India and various parts of the Middle East.
Scudder is survived by his wife, Nancy, and children: John, Tom, and Beth.
Correction: This article originally said that the Scudders retired in 1998; they retired in 2008. We apologize for the mistake.