ben-weir

The memorial service for Rev. Ben Weir has been scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2:00PM at First Presbyterian Church in Oakland (map). A light reception will follow. 

October 14 – Our hearts are heavy with news of Ben Weir’s death earlier today. He was a beloved professor, an SFTS alum, and, together with his wife, Carol, a Presbyterian missionary in Lebanon for nearly 30 years. He was elected Moderator of the 1986 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). His wife, Carol, died in 2011.

In May 1984, Ben Weir was kidnapped off the streets of Beirut by an Islamic fundamentalist group, Islamic Jihad. He was held hostage for 485 days and freed in exchange for US anti-tank weapons, as part of the Iran-Contra Affair. The book Hostage Bound Hostage Free tells the story of his captivity from his perspective as well as his wife’s.

Ben and Carol Weir began their missionary work in 1953 after his short stint as an assistant pastor upon his graduation from seminary. They were originally stationed in a small town in southern Lebanon. It took him and Carol five years to learn Arabic. They had each taken a course in how to learn foreign languages – but his teacher spoke Turkish and hers spoke a Native American language. They eventually learned by listening to phonograph records.

Dean Jana Childers noted, “Ben Weir served as Hewlett Professor of Mission and Evangelism along with his wife Carol for many years and they were deeply loved and cherished by the SFTS family. You rarely spoke of them as individuals, as Ben Weir or Carol Weir; it was always together, ‘Ben & Carol Weir’”.

President Jim McDonald said, “Ben was a deeply faithful Christian and one of the world’s most respected voices for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East throughout his life. We will continue to be inspired by his deep faith in Jesus Christ and his willingness to engage the world with the good news of the gospel.”

Dean Childers said, “Today, the Church Militant has lost a great leader. Family and friends will long miss this lovely man of high principle and courage. Please keep his family in our prayers.”

If you’d like to learn more about Ben and Carol’s extraordinary lives, please see the following links: 

Memorial gifts may be made to:

First Church Oakland Food Ministry
San Francisco Theological Seminary
PCUSA – Disaster Relief for Lebanon/Syria