We trust that you may have seen Bethany College’s recent social media announcement regarding the passing of Board of Trustee member Rev. Dr. Janet Long ‘78. With the forthcoming Celebration of Life Service scheduled for Saturday, we believe it is appropriate to reflect upon her profound influence on the Bethany community.

Long, of Elyria, Ohio, graduated from Bethany College in 1978 and earned a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in 1981. She remained active with both institutions, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at Bethany College since 1994. Her dedicated 27 years of service have significantly impacted the Bethany community, shaping its growth and evolution.

Janet Long“Janet and I have been friends since our days as students at Bethany College,” says Board of Trustees Chairman Ken Bado ‘77. “Her genuine love for Bethany has never wavered. As a trustee, she served honorably as an officer. She will fondly be remembered for her courage to respectfully ask the difficult questions, as well as her always thoughtful and inspiring prayers.“

Long’s unwavering dedication to Bethany shines brightly through the meaningful connections she cultivated within the community. As an integral member of the College’s presidential search committee, she exemplified her heartfelt commitment to guiding Bethany’s future with strength and purpose.

In 1996, Bethany College awarded Long an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, solidifying her legacy as a trailblazer among women in ministry and a devoted servant to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Long made history as the first graduate from her class at Brite Divinity School to be called to a pastoral position, and the only female to ever achieve this coveted honor. Her journey commenced as the senior pastor of Clyde Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Clyde, Ohio. In 1985, she assumed the esteemed role of senior pastor at Washington Avenue Christian Church in Elyria, Ohio, a position seldom entrusted to women during that era. Even after retiring from full-time local-church ministry, Long continued her impactful work with the denomination’s Center for Faith and Giving, focusing on stewardship and generosity initiatives.

Engaged in volunteer leadership roles, Long’s tenure spanned over three decades at Elyria Memorial Hospital (now University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center), where she served as chair of the Board of Directors, foundation board member, and held positions on various other boards. Since 1989, her active involvement in the Elyria Noon Rotary, including a term as president, underscored her devotion to community service.

Long’s remarkable journey within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) culminated in her election as moderator, the highest non-paid staff leadership position. Her pivotal two-year term culminated in the distinguished honor of presiding over the 1997 General Assembly in Denver, hosting over 8,000 attendees. Across the denomination, she contributed significantly, serving on the Christian Church Finance Council and Christian Church Foundation Board of Directors for nearly a decade, including a tenure as chair.

Her influence extended to the Christian Church Pension Fund Board, where she played a crucial role on the audit committee and chaired the presidential search.

From her early years through adulthood, Long’s commitment to nurturing youth and students remained steadfast. As a staff member and counselor at Camp Christian, the denomination’s esteemed summer camp in Magnetic Springs, Ohio, she left an enduring imprint on countless lives.

As we honor the memory of such a remarkable individual, Bethany College extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Rev. Dr. Janet Long. Her legacy at Bethany College and beyond will continue to inspire and guide future generations.

You are welcome to make a contribution in her memory to Bethany College’s Janet A. Long Ministerial Scholarship.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Washington Avenue Christian Church, 301 Washington Avenue, Elyria. Family will receive guests at the church at 10 a.m., and at a luncheon following the service. Reverend Nathan A. Russell, Senior Pastor of Washington Avenue Christian Church, will officiate. The burial will be private.