Remembering William A. Loveless

(system) #1

William A. Loveless, born January 17, 1928, died today, September 15, 2014.

“Success is never final, failure is rarely fatal, and courage is always necessary.” Those are three lessons that I learned from a William Loveless’ sermon that he preached at the Loma Linda University Church in the 1980s. Twenty years before that, he was preaching memorable sermons at Sligo SDA Church, my home church as a teenager. I still remember his series there on the Biblical character David. He had a compelling way of combining Biblical truth with contemporary life.

So compelling was his preaching that while he was pastor of the Sligo Church, the local ABC television station asked him and his friend Winton Beaven to do a weekly television show. Their conversations on “Concept” seemed casual but were always enlightening and had “production values.” Members of the Takoma Academy Chorale remember going to the television studio to perform for the Christmas shows.

In recent years, it has been my delight to serve with Loveless on the Charles E. Weniger Society Executive Committee, because there I was able to learn the origin of those production values. At the SDA Theological Seminary Dr. Weniger taught homiletics and inspired his students in unusual ways, encouraging them to attend concerts and theatrical productions, for instance. So Loveless and his wife decided to go to see a Shakespeare play in Washington, D.C. Watching the actors deliver the soliloquys of the master playwright changed Loveless’ concepts of preaching. He never again used a pulpit to present a sermon.

In addition to his years as the pastor of two of the largest congregations in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, Loveless’ career also included time as the president of Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) and president of the Pennsylvania Conference.

In 2004, his alma mater Walla Walla University chose him as an honored alum who embodied service and scholarship. The Charles E. Weniger Society honored him in the year 2000.

To my peers at Takoma Academy there will always be a special place in our hearts for William Loveless, because he had a place in his heart for us. He included us in the planning of activities of Sligo. With his blessing, we held Friday evening “Saint Sessions” in the basement of the church. He created the student missionary program that is now part of every Adventist college curriculum.

Another thing that endeared him to us as teenagers was his love of music, and his hot saxophone solos that could melt into jazz or classical music, depending on the time and place.

An era has past, a friend wrote to me upon learning of his death. Yes, it has, but we all have wonderful memories of a man who helped to shape us and our church family in creative, positive ways. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

Bonnie Dwyer is the editor of Spectrum.

A memorial service will be held at the Loma Linda University Church on Sunday, September 28, at 2 pm.

The family has requested no flowers, please, but if anyone would like to make a contribution to honor William Loveless’ memory, please consider giving to the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, Calexico Mission School, or Loma Linda Broadcasting Network.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Charles Scriven) #2

I met Elder Loveless before he got to Takoma Park, when he in his twenties. Twice he was my counselor at Camp MiVoden in northern Idaho.


(I also loved his preaching. When he was doing college weeks of prayer during the time period you describe, young people all over the country were benefiting as well–and wishing they could be as good as he was with a Bible story.)


(k_Lutz) #3

I got to play for Bill and Edna (and others) at the Gathering Place SS a few months back. He counselled me both as a teenager and decades later as a widower, as a true pastor and then as a Family Counselor. Probably to me, the most influential SDA - someone who cared!

Rest in peace, Bill, for I know you …

Trust God.

(Ed Reifsnyder) #4

Bonne, I too was moved by Bill Loveless’ sermons on David. For some reason, the phrase “David was a tough little monkey” has stuck in my mind. He was the only reason I went to church in those years, for which I am thankful. I felt like his sermons were meaningful poetry.

(David Lamoreaux) #5

Thank you Bonnie for a wonderful tribute and insights into Bill Loveless ministry. He was a wonderful man-unforgettable. I am delighted to know what led him to stay out of the pulpit when he preached. Dynamite! He is definitely one of those people whose influence has helped me keep my courage and remain an Adventist.

(Rohan Charlton) #7

Well seems like you just succeeded!

(Drhoads) #8

Ja–I finally figured out that the word “Reply” under my post really meant “post my comment”. I think these guys can do better with this site than this. Don

(test. Hi guys! - webAdmin)

(Dan Giang) #9

Bill Loveless made Christianity the coolest thing imaginable to me as an elementary school kid at Sligo Church.

(Dave Ferguson) #10

It is nearly impossible to provide enough accolades to match the man. I first met Bill Loveless when we asked him to speak for the annual spiritual kickoff at Union College with the theme “In His Hands to Make Great”. I was privileged to spend hours with he and Edna Mae in continuing education class discussing family therapy. It was there that they encouraged me to experience the mud baths in Calistoga. His sermons always made you think and were never boring. It has been a blessing to spend time with him. His warm acceptance made me feel like listeners must have felt when in the presence of Jesus.

(Rick Laub) #11

A dynamic, provocative, creative, inspiring and biblical preacher! As a graduate student at Loma Linda and a member of the University Church, I had the privilege of listening to his sermons weekly. Dr. Loveless always “got it!” A “out of the box” individual that was never afraid of controversy and never afraid to tell the “truth!”

(Dana Waters) #12

Back in the era when the “brethren” wore black suits and black ties, Bill wore a red tie and even played the saxophone! Both were scandalous at the time, but such a breath of fresh air. And that was just the beginning. Then came the preaching… What a blessing he was.

(David Benton) #13

“Most learning comes too late!” was the message Bill Loveless presented as I completed my 9-year college career. Among my earlier memories, Bill had time to conduct Takoma Academy’s band rehearsals 2 mornings a week, and their tours and concerts. This was while he was senior pastor at Sligo Church. Sligo had I’m guessing half the full-time staff it has now; he presented thoughtful, dynamic sermons week after week. I look back and marvel that he had the energy to keep it up!

I was organist for weekly chapels in Sligo when Dr. Loveless was back in Takoma Park as CUC president. More than once he would announce a hymn to be sung, and I would add some re-harmonization for the final stanza, maybe in a new key. Often when we would finish, he would observe, “I know Benton didn’t prepare that in advance, because he had no idea what the hymn would be until I announced it!” That kind of generous praise gave me a gift of confidence.

For Saints’ Session, Dr. Loveless suggested we require a card for admission. You had to be a teenager to qualify. I still have mine. The teens loved it when he shared that the Potomac Conference youth director had called to say he had heard about this program and thought he needed to visit. Loveless: “I’m afraid that won’t be possible.” Youth director, “Why is that?” Loveless, “because you need a card to get in, and you don’t have a card.”

Sorry to learn of his passing; Bill Loveless is still an inspiration to me as a person who did his own thinking, set an example of hard, honest work to accomplish important goals, was generous with praise and loved the Gospel.

(Interested Friend) #14

I almost invariably looked forward to hearing Loveless preach. He and Winton Beaven(sp) were a good pair. Last time I heard him was in 2011. He said when Charlie Hirsch was told by GC to jump Charlie said how high?
Poor Charlie was long deceased and couldn’t defend himself.

(George Tichy) #15

You may not know it yet, but you just did!!! Congrats.

(George Tichy) #16

I like the “out of the boox” guys!

(k_Lutz) #17

It may be cute to overstate the obvious, but it seems to me responding to off-topic posts exacerbates the problem. I may be wrong, so …

Trust God.

(Fred Eastman) #18

I loved Bill Loveless (as well as Edna Mae). He was my band director at TA and my pastor at Sligo and LLU on his 2 separate stints there. When he was President of CUC I was in Washington DC in a surgical residency and he convinced my mother in law Valerie K Landis to join him at CUC to teach in the “Adult Education Dept.” that he and JP Laurence had envisioned to help reinvigorate CUC and make it possible to survive. It worked!! He and Winton Beaven made a great pair together!! Their TV program “Concepts” was a great success in a tough Washington DC TV market. It reflected very well on the SDA church and CUC. He had a good sense of humor and knew how to “relate” to young and old alike!! He played a mean “Sax”!! He encouraged me to play the trombone with a “flair” that was great fun. He pushed the SDA music envelope when that wasn’t “popular” with the GC brethren :slight_smile: Bill and Jim Whitlock were good buddies and played plenty of “pranks” that made them “real friends” with the youth!! He taught me, along with Graham Maxwell that God was my friend and the Sabbath was a “family day” that was worth celebrating with a God who could be “trusted” in all things!! I could go on but you get the idea that Bill was a wonderful “friend of God”!! I will miss him but look forward to getting together again and playing some wonderful music together!!

(Kevin Paulson) #19

May the Loveless family experience peace and comfort in this moment of loss and pain.

(Drhoads) #20

Now that I’ve got my two bits in about the website, I will comment on Bill Loveless. The only contact I had with him was a memorable Week of Prayer (Officially, Week of Spiritual Emphasis) at Andrews University when I was a freshman faculty member there. That would have been in the 60s. I found his sermons innovative and refreshing. Don

(Margaret Ernst) #21

Bill Loveless was my pastor at the Loma Linda University Church during the 1970s. I remember receiving (as a fourteen-year-old) a survey. My pastor wanted to know, among other things, whether “my sermons relate to what you are thinking about during the week.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

It was a completely new thought to me: my experience at church is supposed to connect to the rest of my life? And my pastor thinks it’s HIS job to make sure that happens?