Lambert Remembered for Contributions to the Covenant

Dr. Jean Lambert

CAROL STREAM, IL (June 19, 2008) – Jean Lambert, a retired minister and educator, who helped pave the way in the denomination for other women in ministry, died Wednesday, June 18. She was 67.

Lambert died at 11 p.m. at Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream, Illinois, following a lengthy illness. She was born June 21, 1940, in Berwyn, Illinois.

The denomination and North Park Theological Seminary have each honored Lambert in recent years for her service. During the Covenant’s 2006 Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President Glenn Palmberg presented her with the Irving C. Lambert Award. The award, which recognizes excellence in support of urban and ethnic ministries, is named in honor of her father.

The plaque presented to Lambert read: From the early nurture of a small city congregation, you have shaped a life of ministry and friendship for all of God's children. You have dwelt comfortably in the borderlands of the human family, among people of different races, cultural groups, and social classes. All alike have been touched by your ministry. From New York to Zimbabwe, from Kansas City to Stockholm, you have exercised your gifts as teacher, pastor, writer, and friend. In all things you have shown intelligence, wisdom, and generosity. Your life stands as a witness to us all.

Lambert was one of the first women to be ordained in the Covenant, the first to serve on the Board of the Ordered Ministry, and one of the denomination’s first female theologians, says Phil Anderson, professor of church history at North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS).

In May, Anderson and three other Seminary faculty members presented Lambert with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree during a special ceremony at Windsor Park Manor, a Covenant Retirement Community. Health issues prevented her from attending the seminary’s commencement service to receive the award. The NPTS faculty voted to present her with the doctorate to honor her life of service to the church and academy in the United States and overseas.

Lambert was ordained in 1982. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History at North Park College (now University), a Master of Arts in Theology at Union Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion at Union Columbia University. Lambert taught seminary level classes in the United States and Zimbabwe.

Her teaching career began at the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was an associate pastor from 1976 to 1985. She transitioned easily between the academy and leading the local congregation. Lambert was pastor of Bethesda Covenant Church in New York, New York, from 1985 to 1989. From 1989 to 1991, she taught at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. Lambert subsequently assumed the pastorate of the English-speaking congregation at Immanuelskyrkan in Stockholm, Sweden, where she served from 1992 to 1998. A third of that congregation was from Uganda.

Lambert’s love for Africa continued, and she returned to Zimbabwe to teach at the new Africa University in Mutare from 1998 to 2005. Lambert also served on the former Board of Publications and was managing editor of The Covenant Companion from 1967 to 1970.

Covenant News Service, Copyright 2008, Evangelical Covenant Church