Rev. Betty Jane Bailey died at the age of 90, comforted by her husband James Martin, her daughter Kris and her pastor Rev. David Shaw. Betty Jane was an ordained minister and active member of the community. She received an M.A. from Eden Theological Seminary – where she met her husband – and doctoral degrees from Drew University and McCormick Theological Seminary.
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She was the Associate Minister of Union Congregational Church in Montclair until 1993, then spent several years working as a volunteer in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Her professional and activist work included organizing several interfaith conferences, advocating for gender inclusion, and serving on the Montclair Civil Rights Commission and in the United Nations NGO Network on the question of Palestine. Betty Jane authored and co-authored several books including the travel guide, Living Stones Pilgrimage: With the Christians of the Holy Land. She threw herself into every activity with a sharp mind and fierce determination. As one of her close friends said, “Leave it to Betty to die on Ash Wednesday!”
A memorial service will be held at Union Congregational Church in Montclair later in the spring. Betty Jane’s physical presence and spunky personality will be missed by those she inspired, those she cared for, those she challenged and those she nagged. She leaves behind an extensive community of colleagues, friends and family including her husband James Martin, her daughters Kris Scelfo of Glen Ellyn IL, Susan Razzaz of Amman Jordan, her niece Kim Muench of Long Valley NJ, who she referred to as her “third daughter,” as well as 6 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.