The Rev. Michael McDaniel, Former ELCA North Carolina Synod Bishop, Dies

12/22/2003 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Michael C. D. McDaniel, former Lutheran bishop of North Carolina, died Dec. 18 at Lutheran Home West, Hickory, N.C.
     McDaniel, 74, served as bishop of the North Carolina Synod of the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA) from 1982 to 1987.  When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was formed through the merger of the LCA, American Lutheran Church and Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, McDaniel became bishop of the ELCA North Carolina Synod, serving 1988 to 1991. At the 2003 North Carolina Synod Assembly, he was named "Bishop Emeritus" of the synod.
     A memorial service was held Dec. 22 at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Hickory. The Rev. W. Richard Fritz Jr., pastor of St. Andrew, officiated. Burial was private.  
     "What I will remember most about him is his passion for telling the story of God's love," the Rev. Leonard H. Bolick, told the Salisbury  (N.C.) Post newspaper. Bolick is currently serving as bishop of the ELCA North Carolina Synod.
     "I knew Michael for 20 years and I absolutely considered him a friend and mentor," Bolick told the Post. "He was articulate, courageous and compassionate. He will certainly be irreplaceable."
     During his terms as bishop, McDaniel built and strengthened a number of ecumenical relationships with other Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, United Methodists, African Methodist Episcopal Zionists and Baptists, according to a synod news release.
     In 1991 he was instrumental in forming the groundbreaking covenant with the two Roman Catholic dioceses in North Carolina and with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the release said.  In 1993 he received The Cuthbert E. Allen Award for Contributions to Ecumenism from the Ecumenical Institute, Wake Forest University,  Winston-Salem, N.C., and Belmont Abbey College, Charlotte, N.C.
     From 1983 to 1989, McDaniel took part in Round Two of the Lutheran/Orthodox Dialogue in the U.S.A., served as chairman of the Task Force on Ecumenical Relations for the Commission for a New Lutheran Church, and in 1985 he was a member of a group that visited Orthodox Patriarch Demetrios I, Pope John Paul II and Anglican Archbishop Robert Runcie.
     He was an elected member of the Board of Publications (LCA); member and first chair of the advisory bishops, Church Council (ELCA); and advisory member of the Standing Committee of the Office for Ecumenical Affairs (ELCA). He took a leave of absence in 1989 to accept a joint appointment from the Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland, and Oxford University, Oxford, England, to teach.
     In 1991, McDaniel was founding director of the Center for Theology at Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory. The center serves as a resource for continuing education for clergy and laity, including a weekly preaching seminar, monthly colloquia and an annual Aquinas/Luther Conference, the synod news release said. He was professor emeritus of Lenoir-Rhyne, teaching classes and advanced seminars.
     McDaniel was born in Mt. Pleasant, N.C., in 1929.  He was an Eagle Scout and was awarded the Order of the Arrow by the Boy Scouts of America. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1946 to 1948.
     In 1951 McDaniel graduated from the University of North Carolina. In 1954 he was awarded a bachelor of divinity from Hamma Divinity School, which later merged into Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. He earned a master of arts in systematic theology in 1969, and in 1978 earned a doctoral degree in Christian theology, both from the University of Chicago. McDaniel was awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Lenoir-Rhyne College and from Belmont Abbey College.
     McDaniel received a certificate of excellence in 1968 from the Goethe Institute for German Language and Culture, West Germany, and did post-graduate study at the University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany, in 1968 and 1969. He was named "Distinguished Alumnus" of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in 1990.
     McDaniel was ordained in 1954 by the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA). He was pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Faith, N.C., from 1954 to 1958, and was pastor of Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Savannah, Ga., from 1958 to 1960.
     McDaniel was associate director, ULCA Department of Evangelism, from 1960 to 1962.  He then was pastor of Edgebrook Lutheran Church, Chicago, from 1962 to 1967.
     After full-time graduate study McDaniel became guest lecturer and interim "Pastor to the University" at Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, from 1970 to 1971. From 1971 to 1982 he was professor of religion and philosophy at Lenoir-Rhyne College and was elected to three terms as chair of the Humanities Division. In 1982, he was named distinguished professor. Wittenberg University and Lenoir-Rhyne College are two of the ELCA's 28 colleges and universities.
     McDaniel's published writings include "Welcome to the Lord's Table," published by Augsburg Publishing House, 1971.
     In the community, McDaniel was president of the Hickory Community Concerts Association  from 1977 to 1980 and was president of the board of directors of the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra.
     McDaniel is survived by his wife, Marjorie Ruth Schneiter McDaniel, whom he married in 1953, and a son, John.
* Donna D. Prunkl is communications coordinator for the ELCA North Carolina Synod.

     Information about the ELCA North Carolina Synod can be found at on the Web.

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