Will L. Herzfeld once said that if Jesus were alive today he would probably be "sleeping on a park bench or finding warmth on a farm that had been deserted." Herzfeld, known as a mentor for church leaders, a civil rights activist and the first African American to lead a Lutheran church body, died May 9 in Chicago of cerebral malaria at age 64.
From 1984 to 1987, Herzfeld was presiding bishop of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, an ELCA predecessor. Since 1993 he served as associate executive director of the ELCA Division for Global Mission.
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