PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Longtime Portland religious, community and civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel, has died. He was 67.
Bethel’s death was announced on the Facebook page of his Maranatha Church.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of my dad, Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel. As his favorite song says ‘My soul has been anchored in the Lord’ and we take comfort in knowing that his soul is now with the Lord,” according to a post by his daughter Monica Bethel and the Bethel Family. “We love and appreciate you all for your support and prayers. Please continue to pray for our family as we go through this difficult time.”
In addition to being the senior pastor at the North Portland church where he served since 1994, Bethel was president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance civil rights organization. He also served on the boards of TriMet, the Oregon League of Minority Voters, Warner Pacific College, the Oregon Trail chapter of the American Red Cross and the North Portland Bible College.
“The Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel was a prophetic voice who preached a message of fierce justice. He believed we had an obligation to free people from oppression. So Dr. Bethel championed police reform, an end to gun violence, and a better Portland for young people. He was a friend,” the Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie wrote in a social media post.
In a statement, US Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams said Dr. Bethel was “a true civil rights icon. Dr. Bethel was a visionary leader who reminded us all that the first duty of society is justice. He was a leader with incredible strength, courage, faith, and dignity. His words stirred passion and his work stirred action. People listened when he spoke because of his impeccable character, poise, and passion for change. I deeply respected Dr. Bethel and will miss him.”
Bethel earned a bachelor of theology degree from Kansas City College and Bible School, graduating cum laude with further study from the Nazarene Theological Seminary. He also had a master’s in religious education from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and an honorary doctorate from the Southern California School of Ministry.
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