Rev. Dr. Laird J. Stuart
1943 – 2018
A memorial service for Dr. Stuart was held Saturday, February 9.
A homily was delivered by Rev. Dr. Joanne Whitt, and a PDF of her mediation is available for download: Dr Stuart Homily.
Dr. Stuart served as Calvary’s Pastor and Head of Staff from 1993 to 2010. During this time, Laird’s leadership had a profound impact on Calvary and the wider community. He was much beloved and active in the fight against homophobia within the Presbyterian Church (USA). The fight was not an easy one, not even locally. Laird said in 2004, “I would hope people would choose Calvary specifically because they know there are going to be different points of view. We are trying to say we are an inclusive church.” Today, Calvary’s ministry of LGBTQ full inclusion stands as a tribute to Dr. Stuart’s legacy. He was a founding member and the first president of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, a nation-wide movement that lobbied “the radical middle” for ordination equality. The movement was successful in prompting the PC(USA)’s General Assembly to give local churches freedom to decide who to ordain as ministers, deacons and elders regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Laird was a graduate of Amherst College. He received the Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was for two years president of the student body. He was awarded the Doctor of Ministry from Princeton, as well, and received honorary degrees from Westminster and Waynesburg Colleges in Pennsylvania.
Upon his retirement from Calvary, he was elected to serve as interim president of San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo. He held numerous leadership positions in the PC(USA), including service on the Board of Pensions board of directors, commissioner to four General Assemblies, vice-moderator of the General Assembly Committee on Mission Design and chair of the General Assembly Committee on the Book of Order.
Laird is survived by his wife of 51 years, Virginia and three daughters, Carrie, Brodie, and Rachel and their families.
Memorial donations to Calvary in gratitude for the life and ministry of Dr. Stuart can be made at https://calpres.org/one-time-donation/.