Alan Gripe, interim ministry pioneer, dies

Hoosier native served PC(USA) for more than 60 years

October 4, 2011


The Rev. Alan G. Gripe, who served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a pastor, missionary, chaplain and church executive for more than 60 years, died Sept. 28 in Rochester, NY. He was 91.

A native of Indianapolis, Gripe graduated from Lake Forest College in Illinois and Princeton Theological Seminary. He also earned a masters in theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Following his graduation from Princeton in 1946, Gripe taught Bible and English at Silliman University in the Philippines for five years. He then spent five years as a college chaplain at Davidson (NC) College and the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. For 10 years, 1955-1965, he served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Westfield, NY.

In 1965, Gripe embarked on a lengthy career as a General Assembly-level executive, specializing in personnel services. He was a recruitment officer for the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR). He also chaired an ecumenical recruitment program for the Division of Overseas Ministries of the National Council of Churches.

In 1969 he became associate secretary of the Interboard Office of Personnel Services of the former United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., where he provided personnel services to a variety of church agencies.

In 1973, Gripe returned to pastoral ministries, specializing in interim pastorates. It was during his many years as an interim pastor that he quite literally “wrote the book” on interim pastoral ministry ― “the Interim Pastor’s Manual.”

Gripe is survived by two sons, Stephen and David; three grandchildren; a brother, Richard; and three generations of nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Oct. 14 at Third Presbyterian Church of Rochester.

  1. Many years ago I needed help! I had accepted a call and the "fit" was not right. Alan Gripe helped me relocate to a better place (for all concerned)--then in my "retirement years" he inspired me to enter interim ministry, a happy place for me for the past 10 years. God bless his memory!

    by Louis S. Lunardini

    October 11, 2011

  2. Alan was a friend and a mentor. We worked together (with Rev. Carolyn Jones) in a number of Interim Minister training seminars. I am saddened by word of his passing. Jim Donnell

    by Rev. James K. Donnell

    October 9, 2011

  3. Alan's book and his work in interim ministry has been important for me, now that I am in my fourth interim ministry. He set the gold standard and literally paved the way for me and others to follow. God bless.

    by John Helgeson

    October 6, 2011