David Engelhard, 64, a former Bible professor who guided the Christian Reformed Church through a period of historic change, died December 22 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Engelhard’s death came ten months to the day after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. “The ending is in some sense a relief,” said Peter Borgdorff, executive director of the 273,000-member CRC. “But it is a life cut short.” Engelhard was a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary for 23 years and served the denomination as general secretary from 1994—when it moved to approve women’s ordination—until his health forced him last spring to retire early.
Victor M. Rivera, 89, the retired Episcopal bishop of the San Joaquin, California, diocese who actively opposed women’s ordination, died December 23 in Visalia, California. The Puerto Rico–born bishop headed the Fresno-based diocese from 1968 to 1989. Despite Rivera’s vocal opposition to the ordination of women priests, he took part with 20 other bishops in the ordination last January of his eldest daughter, Bavi Edna “Nedi” Rivera, to the suffragan bishop post in the Seattle-based Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Washington.