Morris Venden, Noted Adventist Preacher, Author, Dies at 80
Ministered to generations, had wide influence (Posted February 15, 2013)
BY JAY WINTERMEYER
, Upper Columbia Conference, reporting from College Place, Wash.
orris L. Venden, well known husband, father, Seventh-day Adventist preacher, teacher, and author, passed to his rest Sunday evening, February 10, 2013. Venden was 80 years old and died following a 10-year battle with FTD, a comparatively rare form of dementia. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn; son, Lee, and his wife, Marji; daughters, Lynn and LuAnn Venden; grandchildren, Kris, Lindsey and Mark; his brother, Louis, and his wife, Margie Venden.
During his ministry, Venden pastored several large churches, including the La Sierra University Church and Pacific Union College Church in California and the Union College Church in Nebraska. Later, he pastored the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church near Loma Linda, California, from which he retired in August 1998. Venden then joined the Voice of Prophecy (VOP) radio ministry team as an associate speaker.
“Morrie agreed to preach on our 30-minute Sunday broadcast and also appeared at dozens of appointments and camp meetings for the VOP,” recalled Lonnie Melashenko, who at the time was VOP speaker/director. “Always the consummate statesman, Morrie was deeply respected and admired everywhere he served,” he added.
Along with writing more than 30 books about Jesus, Venden was a widely sought-after speaker and has been described as a master of the art of preaching, and most of all, someone who loved Jesus.
“His books were like an oasis of fresh spirituality. They uplifted Christ, not just keeping the Sabbath and keeping the law,” said Ovidiu Radulescu, a pastor now living in Arkansas, who in communist Romania secretly typed and distributed translated copies of Venden’s 1980 book “Faith That Works.”
The tagline from that book, as listed on Amazon.com, is, "You don't get righteousness by seeking righteousness. Righteousness comes by seeking Jesus."
“I know several people who chose to stay in the church because of reading Morris Venden’s books,” Radulescu said.
Venden’s son, Lee, said “Dad will be remembered for the one string on his violin that he consistently talked about; Jesus, and the privilege available to everyone to have a meaningful friendship with Him. At this point it seems clear Dad will be able to sleep this disease off; the long sleep from our perspective, the short sleep from his.”
Venden’s memorial service will be held in the Loma Linda University Church, on Sunday, March 3, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, or for those wishing to contribute to a memorial fund, the family requests that gifts be sent (In Memory of Morris L. Venden) to the SonBridge Community Center in College Place, Wash. or to Maranatha Schools and 1-Day Churches.
-- with additional reporting by Mark A. Kellner and Adventist News Network