Remembering Bill Balkan

You won’t find a reference to the Rev. William Balkan in the records of the Unitarian Universalist Association, even though he spent his last years of pastoral ministry serving Canon (Georgia) Universalist Church — holding on longer than he wanted so that I might finish seminary and succeed him — and wrote for the the Universalist Herald then and after.

Bill died a few weeks ago so I’ve heard, but he won’t be remember at the Service of the Living Tradition at General Assembly this year or any other. He was a minister — formerly Lutheran — who believed in universal salvation and served a little Universalist church but never held fellowship. He never needed fellowship to serve and there are lots of ministers — most unknown to the wider world — who have lived, served and died the same way.

Pause, please, to remember him.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I regret that I never met him, or corresponded with him.

    the following information you probably know, but I got from Rev. Vernon Chandler. He was a former editor of the Universalist Herald, and was “Editor Emeritus” from 1992 -2007. He was the first president of the Universalist Convocation and President of the Georgia Universalist Convention.
    His funeral was April 15, 2007. I have a booklet he wrote on the Georgia Universalists.

  2. (let me know if you need his widow’s address, which I got from Vernon)
    obituary appeared in the Greenville (SC) News,
    this is from the funeral home website

    William Howard Balkan
    Born in Alexandria, VA on Mar. 16, 1922
    Died on Apr. 12, 2007 and resided in Mauldin, SC.

    Visitation: Saturday, Apr. 14, 2007
    Service: Sunday, Apr. 15, 2007
    Cemetery: Nancy Hart Memorial Park

    William Howard Balkan, PhD., 85, of 23 Glen Laurel Court, husband of Shirley Burton Balkan, died Thursday, April 12, 2007 at Hospice of the Upstate.
    Born in Alexandria, VA., he was the son of the late Albert E. and Rose Marquardt Balkan.
    Mr. Balkan was a Lutheran Minister and was a veteran of the United States Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force and was a retired Captain with the United States Army. He was a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
    Surviving, in addition to his wife, are two daughters, Naomi Miller of Arkansas, and Martha Balkan of California; and two grandchildren.
    Memorials may be made to Meals on Wheels, 15 Oregon Street, Greenville, SC 29605.
    Visitation will be held Saturday, April 14, 2007 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown. Funeral services will be held Sunday, April 15, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. in the downtown chapel. Burial will be in Nancy Hart Memorial Park, Hartwell, GA.

  3. I remember Bill as a gracious host and a gentle man. If I recall correctly, he was one of the Universalist ministers who gathered for a retreat at The Mountain in about 1982, an event organized by the late Rev. Sid Peterman, who was then interim-IDR for the Southeast. — Bob

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