Mary Jane Patterson

Mary Jane Patterson, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) elder who served as a social worker and missionary to Africa before enlivening the corridors of power in the nation’s capital as director of the Presbyterian Washington Office for 13 years, died April 8 in Washington. May her family and all who love her experience God's presence and care as they walk this particular shadowed valley.

I did not know Mary Jane well. I met her only briefly on a few occasions and those most often after she had retired.

Others who knew her better than I did, will and should say other things. For my part, I knew her as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and a woman of deep grace, a profound commitment to justice, a brilliant mind, and energy and enthusiasm that did not quit.

It was an honor and a privilege to know her even a little; it is an honor and a privilege to attempt to follow in her footsteps.

Those of us who work for peace and justice in the Presbyterian Church stand on her shoulders. And as we go forward, Mary Jane goes with us in the Communion of Saints.

For Mary Jane, and for all the saints, thanks be to God.

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