On Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, CBE’s longtime friend and supporter, the Rev. Dr. Martha Giltinan passed away after a courageous eleven-month battle with Leukemia. CBE’s global community has been praying for this great leader, whose spirit exemplified indomitable courage and unshakeable faith through the worst of her battle. Martha Giltinan was a priest in the Anglican Church of North America and a member of faculty at Trinity School for Ministry since 2005. Martha was Trinity’s assistant professor of pastoral theology, teaching both liturgy and pastoral theology. Martha’s research interests were theological reflections tools, theology and the arts, and the mentor training process and practical mentored ministry education. Her work as a public intellectual was expansive and deeply insightful.
Martha was valued for her mind as well as for her warm and giving heart. At Trinity School for Ministry, Martha acted as friend and invaluable mentor to many of her students. Martha also served as director of the mentored ministry program at the seminary. She worked on the Liturgy and Common Worship Task force which developed the Texts for Common Prayer. She also worked in parish ministry in Boston for nearly twenty years, serving at two parishes, including Christ Church in South Hamilton. Martha was also involved in church planting and other important growth initiatives. Her work at Trinity and with the Anglican Church of North America illustrates an intense commitment to her faith as well as her creative and determined mind.
Martha wrote and lectured for CBE on many occasions. She also celebrated communion for CBE’s international conferences in Seattle, Kenya, and Pittsburgh. Martha led a powerful workshop entitled “Women Leaders: A Primary Issue?” at CBE’s Pittsburgh Conference in July, 2013. Martha, born in Charleston, West Virginia in 1957, received her undergraduate degree from Wheaton College in 1980. Later, Martha earned a MATS degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, before going on to finish her MDiv at Virginia Theological Seminary in 1988. She also earned a doctor of ministry at Trinity School for Ministry in 2012.
As President of Christians for Biblical Equality, I have had the opportunity to work beside Christian leaders from nearly every continent and from most denominations. In my twenty plus years of Christian service, I have rarely met a leader so passionate to know and to make known the glories of Christ. Because of this, Martha could light up a room the moment she entered. Every cell of her being was so vibrantly alive! Eyes fixed on Jesus, she had overcome the world long before cancer tortured her body. A strong advocate for women, she was herself one of the best reasons I have for coming to work every day. As a friend, she was faithful in all that was seemingly insignificant, as well as in addressing larger concerns.
Devoted to the global church, Martha served a community of Christians in nearly every corner of the world (making new friends daily). She loved people sincerely. Though my heart is breaking, I feel so rich for having had the honor of calling Martha a friend. She always did what was best for the body of Christ, and truly, I never heard her say a negative word about anyone. I love you, dear Martha, and thank you for showing me so clearly what leadership truly means. I give sincere thanks to God for your example and I pray for many more leaders like you to serve the body of Christ.