In Memory of




Obituary for Rev. J. Vance Williams

In lieu of an obituary, My Story, Rev. J. Vance Williams

THOMASTON - I entered this world in a small hospital in Brunswick, Maine at the depths of the depression followed by two brothers. We were fortunate to have a father employed by the U.S. Postal Service, so we did not share the poverty so prevalent in the 1930's. In the later 1930's, Dad joined the National Guard where he trained to become an officer in the regular army as the war broke out in the early 1940's. As he was transferred from one fort to another, war came to a close, and my mother as a new divorcee moved to Florida to begin a new life. Finally, high school in one place, which represented a measure of stability. I was a top student and fell in love with football for four years. And for the first time I was exposed to the Christian Gospel in the little country church in our community where at about sixteen, I felt the call to ministry. In the meantime, I learned to milk a cow, harness and drive a team, operate a roller coaster, and pour a concrete foundation.

It seemed like a natural step to college, then seminary during which I was married in 1954 and then ordained in 1957. I served several churches in Massachusetts and Maine and leave behind a courageous wife struggling with muscular dystrophy, five daughters and one son, ten grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. I was a commercial lobsterman for fifteen years in Gloucester, Massachusetts and did further post-graduate work in family therapy: training to help troubled couples which I did professionally for over 20 years. I would highlight three themes in my life in which I tried to change the world: First I was part of the struggle against the KKK to save Koinonia Farm. Second, I was a strong supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr and the Civil Rights movement of the 60's - his marches, his non-violent approach, his dreams.
Third, I am a whole hearted believer in open borders and warm hospitality to all who seek the protection of our way of life. We are all immigrants. Let us reignite the words on the Statue of Liberty," Give us your tired, your poor..."

After returning to Maine I was invited to become the interim minister at the Rockland Congregational Church in the late 1990's which I continue to call my church home. Recently I donated a memorial bench to the City of Rockland at Sandy beach which I invite you all to share.

If you would like to give to a cause which I love, send donations to Koinonia Farm, 1324 Georgia Highway, 495 Americas, Georgia 31719; or online at: or to Rockland Congregational Church with that designation. Koinonia Farm founded Habitat for Humanity and currently is a strong supporter of "Feed the Children".

Thank you for your generosity.

Rev. J. Vance Williams