Obituary: Rev. Betty Jane Bailey
The Rev. Betty Jane Bailey, former associate minister at Union Congregational Church in Montclair, died on Feb. 17, 2021, surrounded by loved ones. She was 90.
Rev. Bailey was an ordained minister and active member of the community. She received an M.A. from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo. – where she met her husband, James Martin – and doctoral degrees from Drew University and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
She was the associate minister of Union Congregational Church 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 for the United Nations NGO Network on the question of Palestine.
Rev. Bailey 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. Her physical presence and spunky personality will be missed by those she inspired, those she cared for, those she challenged and those she nagged.
As one of her close friends said, “Leave it to Betty to die on Ash Wednesday!”
Rev. Bailey is survived by an extensive community of colleagues, friends and family, including her husband, James Martin; her daughters, Kris Scelfo of Glen Ellyn, Ill., and Susan Razzaz of Amman, Jordan; her niece, Kim Muench, of Long Valley, whom she referred to as her “third daughter”; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Union Congregational Church in the spring.
Arrangements were by Caggiano Memorial Home for Funerals.