Rev. Marianne Niesen to speak at Marcus Borg service Jan. 31

Rev. Marianne Niesen to speak at Marcus Borg service Jan. 31

Rev. Marianne Niesen to speak at Marcus Borg service Jan. 31
1/30/2015

Yellowstone Annual Conference's the Rev. Marianne Niesen will be one of three people sharing reflections on theological scholar and author Marcus J. Borg tomorrow, Jan. 31, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend, Oregon. Borg passed away Jan. 21 in Powell, Oregon, at the age of 72 from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
 
Borg was known for his liberal approach to Christianity and was part of a group called the Jesus Seminar. He authored and co-authored 21 books and was a popular speaker. Niesen said she last saw Borg in October 2013 when he spoke at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Helena, Montana, where she is the senior pastor.
 
Niesen, who had known Borg for 25-plus years, said his death came as a shock to her.
 
"It happened so fast," Niesen said, adding that she and her husband, Lyle Hamilton, were planning a trip to Italy with Borg and his wife, Marianne.
 
Niesen first met Borg when she attended the Pacific School of Religion at Berkeley, California. She said he was a visiting professor while his wife Marianne attended an Episcopal seminary nearby. Niesen lived in the same commuter apartment building with the Borgs, and also worked as his teaching assistant.
 
"Marcus is a rare scholar," Niesen said. "He was more than the facts. He helped me discover a Jesus that I could follow. He was passionate about his own faith and sincerely tried to be like Jesus."
 
She added she feels she's a better pastor having had Borg as a teacher and mentor.
 
Niesen said Saturday's service is just for family and close friends and will be held at the church the Borgs had attended for the past several years. She was asked to speak at Marianne's request because "they considered us family."

"It is both an honor and one of the most difficult things I have ever done," she said.
 
A public service is scheduled for March 22 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. For a full obituary on Borg, go to his official website.


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