- Grove City, Pennsylvania


March 10, 2013

The Rev. Dr. T. Donald Black

Minister had international career in church affairs

JENKINTOWN, Pa. — T. Donald Black, a 20-year resident of the Rydal Park Retirement Community in Jenkintown, Pa., formerly of Cliffside Park, N.J., died at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Rydal Park. He was 93.

For 64 years, he was the devoted husband of Frances Greenan Black, who graduated from Grove City College in 1944. Frances died July 7, 2008.

Born in Mercer on Feb. 7, 1920, he was one of six children of the late Harry A. and Bessie G. Black.

He graduated from Mercer High School in 1937; Grove City College, '42; Temple University School of Theology, '53; and was awarded a doctor of divinity degree from Grove City College in 1955.

He was ordained by what was then the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1945 and began his ministry in Oklahoma City, where he founded the Creston Hills United Presbyterian Church.

In 1950, he became pastor of Boulevard United Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He was elected as a member of the board of foreign mission and served as its president. During that time, he was invited to chair the New Wilmington Missionary Conference.

In 1954, he became executive secretary of the board of foreign missions. Two years later, the foreign mission work of the Women's General Missionary Society was merged and a larger board was formed. In 1958, the denomination was united with the Presbyterian Church, USA and he became the associate general secretary of the new Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations. He served with this organization until it disappeared in a reorganization of church agencies.

In 1972, he became pastor of The American Church in London. He led its relocation from an Anglican building to a congregation of The United Reform Church. He helped establish The Association of Community Churches in Europe and the Middle East and participated in several events during England's recognition of the American Bicentennial.

In 1977, he returned to New York to become an associate director of the program agency of United Presbyterian Church USA.

In 1983, the denomination merged with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. He was elected as the first executive director of its General Assembly Council. He retired in 1988.

During his career, he had been active in ecumenical activities. He was the first president of the Oklahoma State Council of Churches and was a delegate to the founding assembly of the National Council of Churches and served on several committees. He attended two assemblies of the World Council of Churches and was a member of its Division of World Mission and Evangelism, chairing its Christian Literature Fund Committee. He also attended two assemblies of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

While living at Rydal Park, a retirement center in the Philadelphia Presbytery, he served on the sponsoring organization's board of directors. He also served Abington Presbyterian Church as a parish associate for five years.

During his retirement, he and Mrs. Black traveled to Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

He is survived by: his sons, David, Phoenix; Donald, Monterey, Calif.; and Joseph and his wife Catherine, Lapeer, Mich.; and seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his son, Timothy, in 1957.

Memorial service was Friday (2-22-13) in the auditorium of Rydal Park, Jenkintown. Friends will be received after the service.

Arrangements by Baron Rowland Funeral Home, Abington, PA (

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, 17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, NY 10980; or New Wilmington Missionary Conference Endowment Fund, 229 S. Market St., New Wilmington, PA 16142.

Published Feb. 23, 2013 in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201A Erie St., Grove City.

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