Church mourns the loss of theologian and teacher Dr. Luke Keefer, Jr.

—Dr. Luke Keefer, Jr., passed away on Friday, December 10, 2010, at Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic.

Dr. Luke Keefer, Jr.Born September 22, 1940, to Luke Sr., and Martha (Melhorn) Keefer in Millersburg, Pa., Luke accepted Christ at age 10. A year later, he was baptized and joined Free Grace BIC, the church his father pastored in Millersburg. While a senior in high school, Luke's focus began shifting away from his initial desire to go to Penn State University for veterinary science toward going to Messiah College (Grantham, Pa.) for Bible and religion studies. He did indeed go to Messiah, graduating with a B.A. in 1963.

After college, Luke taught at a public school, then at the BIC Navajo Mission (Farmington, N.M.). He also served inpastoral roles at Hummelstown (Pa.) BIC and Stowe (Pa.) BIC Church, and furthered his education by earning a Master of Divinity degree at Asbury Theological Seminar (Wilmore, Ky.) and a doctorate at Temple University (Philadelphia).

In 1971, Luke joined the Messiah College faculty as a member of its religion department, working there until 1987. Next, he began his tenure at Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary, where he taught until 2008.

Throughout this time, Luke continued in his dedicated service to the BIC Church. Throughout the 1980s, he chaired the Board for Ministry and Doctrone. In that role, he encouraged members to think in new directions, such as admitting women to the ministerial licensing and ordination process. He was also a leading member of the committee that rewrote doctrinal statements for the current Manual of Doctrine and Government.

Over the years, Luke became a favorite speaker at Roxbury (Pa.) Holiness Camp, was a frequent contributor to the journal Brethren in Christ History and Life, and authored Everything Necessary, a compelling integration of church doctrines and their practical outcomes.

Most recently, Luke served as an instructor for the Core Course on BIC history and as director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist Pietist, and Weslyan studies.

Luke is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Doris, and two sons, Brian and Dale.

Visitation and funeral services will be held as follows:

In Ashland, Ohio
Visitation will ben on December 15, from 5-8 pm at Denbow-Primm-Kemery Funeral Home.

The funeral service will be at 11 am on December 16, at Ashland BIC. An hour of visitation, beginning at 10 am, will precede the service.

In Millersburg, Pa.
Visitation will be on December 17, from 5-8 pm at Free Grace BIC.

The funeral service (with burial following) will be at 11 am on December 18, at Free Grace BIC. And hour of visitation, beginning at 10 am, will precede the service.

More information will be posted in the coming days.